I noticed that there was a thing going around this week asking people to list the Top Ten Albums that helped shape their teen years. Immediately, I thought to post something snarky about it but found something much better than I could have written. So instead, I sat there and tried to think about the music I was listening to from age thirteen to eighteen. Doing this kind of thinking willingly at the age of thirty-one will inevitably send you down a rabbit hole of existential dread. A few clicks on the calculator and suddenly the room felt so much smaller. It’s been thirteen years since I was eighteen. Worse, I was thirteen in 1997, the same year that OK Computer was released. It’s unfair that an album like that should be released when someone is busy being a stupid sixth grader.

People will remind you, of course, that being in your thirties does not in fact mean you are old. People’s definition of old ranges from being gray and fragile to not having your looks anymore. Sometimes it means you are too old for something, which I usually dismiss. It’s all subjective. Under my definition, I’ve been old since I was sixteen. It’s not being old that bothers me. Doing the math just brought back into mind what I consider my years of hiatus.

I re-shared my first post in a thread yesterday to help circulate this blog (I’m fine calling it a blog now). In this post I referenced “the day I stood on a small wood bridge in the middle of nowhere and decided I wanted to be a professional writer.” I had already been out of high school a few years and was wondering if I still wanted to illustrate professionally some day. During a road trip with friends, I carried a nagging feeling across several state lines. We had set up our tent in a public campground and I stood on a small wooden step-bridge watching the sun set. That feeling was the urge to write. To write what I was thinking, what I was feeling. To write anything, everything. That was my epiphany moment.

That’s all well and good if this was the intro to a How To Write book being used in a creative writing class. Instead of being a new beginning this moment is where I consider my hiatus to have begun. It’s been almost ten years and what is missing is the work. I knew what I wanted to do but never bothered taking more than the first steps before standing still. There are more things I felt that I put on hold but this is really not the place for that.

My attitude toward what you are supposed to do with your life probably differs greatly from the next person. Still, it’s difficult not thinking about where I am for thirty-one and I were I would like to be. The years of hiatus were still filled with wonderful and meaningful moments. You can’t put your life on pause, it continues on even if you are not paying attention. It’s just a shame to look back at the amount of time you weren’t doing what you wanted to do be doing. It’ll do you a whole lot of good if you decide to finally stop looking back and just look forward. “You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one,” I read on some Pinterest inspiration board.

“It’s never too late to begin if you don’t plan to die soon.”

I don’t know if I read that somewhere but it popped in my head. Put that one on a Pinterest inspiration board.

So anyway, the Top Ten Albums of my teen years were a mix of punk, emo and indie bands. Some stood the test of time, others didn’t. Some of my favorite albums from my teen years were actually from the eighties. I listened to The Queen is Dead during the summer before senior year. It came out in 1986, but I didn’t know about it. I was too busy being a stupid two-year old.




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