What’s Your Life Soundtrack?

So were you in musical nirvana this week as you pulled out the old records and tapes to take part in this week’s Kuhnspiration challenge, Life Soundtrack? YouTube has also made the art of reminiscing much easier than it used to be with quite a few classic videos loitering among today’s artists.

This was a much harder challenge than I anticipated but I’ve put together my own little musical soundtrack. I was going to divide it up into acts but then I decided I would rather build an actual soundtrack, track by track. So here is that musical masterpiece…relatively speaking, of course.


Track 1 — birth through age 5

Chicago, Saturday in the Park

I was born in Chicago, and there’s something about this song that always  makes me think of summer trips back home, a breeziness, a lightness and cool charm. My family moved to Florida when I was four, but I always wondered how life would have been different had I been raised in the Windy City.

Track 2 — childhood, through age 12

Elton John, “Crocodile Rock”

This gent was a big part of my life soundtrack growing up in Florida as an only child.  I bought my first “adult” album at the edge of 7 when I purchased HIS greatest hits on vinyl at the record store, and let me tell you: that was a very big deal. I spent a lot of time on my bike roaming through the neighborhood, falling in and out of love with crushes from afar and trying to figure out when I would be able to wield my two left feet forward while regularly falling on my face. But I loved music and that always made everything okay, and I loved Muppets, too, so the combination of the two was, I think, heavenly.

Track 3 — teen years, ages 13-18

U2, “I Will Follow”

When I became a teenager, everything changed – the kind of music I listened to, the kind of movies I watched, the TV I enjoyed, the books I read. I found myself taking out books by philosophers and I quickly became an anglophile much to my dad’s chagrin. But I was fueled by a politely political group of young European musicians that offered songs with a good beat that were easy to dance to and screamed a message of “we’re all the same” ringing through loud and clear (a la General Public, Communards, Depeche Mode, etc.).

Track 4— college, ages 18-22

SugarCubes, “Cold Sweat”

When some folks go to college, they experiment – in all senses of the word. For me, it was with my music. I tried new artists and new sounds. I tried to liberate my mind to accepting sounds I would have in the past written off as weird and foreign. Now, I was a college student. I myself had become weird and foreign – in my own unique way.

Track 5— post-college, ages 22- 24

Kathy Mattea, “Walking Away a Winner”

I got married (at way too young an age), got divorced soon after and quickly learned that before you can ever find Mr. Right, you have to find yourself. I also discovered modern country music and fell into that hole for a few years – odd I know, given my existing tastes. (I published an essay at greater length on the whole whirlwind adventure should you care to learn more. Click here for that essay.)

Track 6 —marriage – the real deal – ages 24-27

The Beatles, “In My Life”

I wasn’t looking for love, but I found it unexpectedly. This not only was “our wedding song,” but it represents the reality of second marriages for many of us – an acknowledgement that yes, we really did have lives before we found each other and that’s okay.

Track 7 —constant searching, ages 28-34

Sheryl Crow, “Every Day Is a Winding Road”

Personally speaking, I was set. I had a supportive and loving man encouraging me to do whatever necessary to grow as a person and as a professional, but that career thing was still a mystery. I landed somewhere and within a few years, found myself eager to try the next lily pad. Perhaps even I know that I wasn’t truly where I should be, but I enjoyed the journey and the people I met along the way. And ultimately, it led me to where I am today, so there you go.

Track 8 — finding peace personally and professionally, ages 35-38

Elvis Costello, “Peace, Love and Understanding”

So it took me 30-plus years to discover him but when I did find Elvis Costello, it came at a perfect time. I had turned 35 and finally found the career of my dreams, doing what I’d always wanted to do since I was a kid – writing for a living. And I felt more outspoken and authentic than ever before. I was finally mature enough to “get” Elvis Costello. Sigh.

Track 9 — new gig, ages 38-39

Foo Fighters, “Learn to Fly”

I immediately loved this song when it came out in ‘99 but it became my mantra of sorts as I ventured out into new territory for me. When I took on my new role as editor with skirt! I was excited, frightened beyond belief, challenged, intrigued, overwhelmed — all at once. But the thrill of learning and doing quickly enveloped my world, and for the first time ever in my career, I was smitten by the unknown and ready for takeoff.

Track 10 — on my own, age 39-present

Katy Perry, “Firework”

I never anticipated these past nearly three years since skirt! magazine closed locally. No one ever really does anticipate being let go but now it’s become a universal experience since so many other people have gone through the same thing. What has it meant for me? Tremendous opportunities to go out on my own and see what I can really do… And it’s tested my personal relationships, too. When you no longer have a magazine at your disposal to promote local events or places, you quickly learn which of these recently developed friendships are genuine. You also learn just how supportive your significant other is when the funds aren’t quite so reliable anymore. This song inspires me to keep going even when I’m sure my firecracker’s out of spark.


I’d say this album has room for at least four more tracks, and so far, I think it’s been a pretty diverse and enlightening musical journey, but I have no idea what those other tracks will be. I can only hope that I’ll continue to keep my ears outstretched to listen for them when they’re playing ever so quietly in the background.

Were you able to set your life to music – in acts like a musical play, track by track as I did or maybe just an album to represent each major era of your life? I’d love to hear from you. Please share with all of us and if you have links to the songs at YouTube, even better, so we can hear your story for ourselves! Good luck…

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!




  1. Blog Double-Take 2012 « Kuhn Stories - [...] What’s Your Life Soundtrack (Jan. 22) [...]

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