I should preface this by saying I love my wife immensely and my teenage self was an idiot.
It’s interesting looking back at 15 year old me and wondering how I could have been so small minded. Things I thought mattered I wouldn’t give a second thought to now, and things I should have been giving my attention weren’t even in my view. Somehow I don’t think I’m alone in that though.
Popularity, cliques, grades, part-time jobs, clubs; everything registers as a 9 on the Richter scale. Nevertheless, there were a lot of emotional peaks, especially due to relationships. It’s hard to find fault with how teens (and myself) react in those situations. You get exposed to some of the most intense feelings you can have in your life all before homeroom is over.
My own experience went something like this:
I just met this person — I love them. No wait, I love this other person. They’re my soulmate. Oh no. I didn’t see that person over there. I should probably see what that’s like to make sure it’s not better than what I have.
If you replayed my teenage years as a movie debuting across the country, I’d be in the front row ripping on it Mystery Science Theater 3000 style. That being said, I went through all of that to get where I am now, so in some way it was worthwhile.
Back to the relationship turmoil of the day, I needed some help getting over all those true loves I kept finding. Thankfully, I was heavy into punk music which offered a great range of music to find solace in.
Welcome to your playlist, please select a song based on your mood:
- “I’m mad at everything, leave me alone.”
- “I’m over you and my friends hate you too.”
- “I’m an idiot, I miss you so much.”
It kind of went like that. What’s interesting to me is that when you find a song that resonates with your emotional state so strongly, you run it into the ground on repeat. For a myriad of reasons, you feel comforted by the chords, the melody, and the lyrics for as long as the track lasts. And you don’t want to leave that place. It’s understandable for all the things a teen can go through.
With enough feelings and time, that song then becomes associated with whatever emotional turmoil you’re feeling. For instance, there are songs I can listen to now that immediately take me back to times as a teen, anchoring me to those emotional peaks. And while at the time the negative feelings were ruling the day, I still recall how wonderful I felt being able to find comfort in that song.
To an extent, I miss knowing I could just recede into music at full volume when life as a teenager was too much to handle. Of course, I still listen to particular songs at full volume, and run songs into the ground thanks to listenonrepeat.com.
But I’m vastly more emotionally stable now than when I was a teen, so I don’t rely so heavily on it as I once did. For the curious, here’s one of the songs that I lived in for a time.
In a strange way, outgrowing teenage angst is a little bittersweet.