I know that this idea is not entirely original, but I felt it fitting to celebrate my twentieth birthday and 7000 post landmark with a soundtrack of my life. Unlike previous landmark posts of a similar nature, I have tried not only to find songs that are personally meaningful, but songs that apply to each of the twenty years of my life. In some cases, some years may have more than one song attached, if I felt that the events of that year called for it, but I have, in all cases, tried to choose songs that do hold a deeper sentimental meaning to me. I hope this provides some insight into me, for those of you who are interested.
1. What a Wonderful World, by George Weiss and Bob Thiele I was born on August 23rd, 1986, in Jerusalem, Israel. On that day (though naturally I don’t remember much), I was soon to discover what a wonderful thing life is. This song has always been among my favorites.
2. A Whole New World, from Aladdin by Alan Menken Ok, so this track has more of a humorous spin on it. As you can probably assume, I don’t mean this as a romantic love duet at age two, but as a realm of discovery as to this “wonderful world” that I was born into. My family moved to New Jersey around my first birthday, so there was even more to explore.
3. Best of Friends, from The Fox and the Hound by Richard Johnson At around age three (though again, not so sure on the exact dates), I met my first real friend. Her name was Cara, and from this point up until I turned six and moved away from New Jersey, we were inseparable. We are still somewhat in contact, though, of course, not nearly as closely as we used to be.
4. I Just Can't Wait to Be King, from The Lion King by Elton John and Tim Rice By age four, I already loved the world I was in. I had two wonderful parents, a cat named Daphne, and my thirst for knowledge was insatiable. I was already reading and learning, devouring any information I could. I couldn’t wait to “grow up” and be able to use it all.
5. You'll Never Walk Alone, from Carousel by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein Suddenly, life was taking a different turn. There were things like school that were popping up, new people to meet, new places to be, and I was frightened. But my parents were always there to hold my hand and guide me. And I had a wonderful kindergarten teacher whom I adored.
6. Baby Mine, from Dumbo by Oliver Wallace and Ned Washington At age six and a half, shortly after my family moved to Michigan, my younger sister was born. This was a huge milestone in my life. I vividly remember changing my mind daily before her birth, trying to decide if I wanted a sister or a brother. A brother would be able to play father to my stuffed animals, but a sister and I would have a lot more in common, and get along a lot better. But I was very glad when I was given a sister. I remember being fascinated when Maya was finally born, by how tiny it was possible for someone to be. I couldn’t stop talking about her, to anyone who would listen.
7. Puff the Magic Dragon, by Peter, Paul and Mary As a big sister, my place in the world changed. I was no longer the baby of the house. I had responsibilities, and there was someone far more vulnerable than I to take care of. Maya later found a friend in Bumblebee, an imaginary girl from the land of Juaodeun, who became almost a part of our family. Somehow this particular song seems fitting for the many events that took place in that particular stage of my life, and does well to articulate the imaginary friend and the dwindling childhood.
8. Traveler's Prayer, by John Renbourn Once again, I found my family packing up the house and shipping ourselves and our belongings across the Atlantic. On this particular occasion, however, I was less than enthusiastic about the idea of moving. We were on our way to Coventry, England, and I was not ready to leave my Michigan friends and life behind.
9. Corner of the Sky, from Pippin by Stephen Schwartz England was a difficult place for me to deal with. The people I went to school with (I am reluctant, at this point, to call them “friends”) were very slow to accept a foreigner into their circle. It was at least six months before I had any friends at all, and it remained that my closest friends in England were not of British origin, but of Israeli and American birth.
10. Two Lost Souls, from Damn Yankees by Douglas Wallop and George Abbott It was at age ten that I first met Sahar. Sahar remained my dearest and closest friend for a very long time. Although we both lived in England, we were both Israeli, and our friendship began when each of us found comfort in each other’s presence. We became more like sisters than anything, and to this day, we are extremely close. Without her, I think my experiences in England would have been far less endurable.
11. The Circle Game, by Joni Mitchell As I mentioned earlier, England and I did not get along very well. After two years of Coventry, we moved to Oxford to try and improve the social situation, but it wasn’t as helpful as we’d hoped. All the while, I was growing up, and maturing, and learning more and more about myself, but my close friends remained the other “foreigners.” I had some British friends, but I felt almost as if it were more for the title than the actual friendship. They would rarely find time to spend with me. This left much time for self-reflection.
12. Top of the World, by the Carpenters Fly Me to the Moon, by Bart Howard At age twelve, after four years of living in England, my father got a job as a history professor at Indiana University, in Bloomington. While I was sad to leave Sahar and the rest of my friends, I was enthralled with the idea of leaving England and coming back to the US. And I was right to be excited – on the first day of school, I met a girl named Rachel at the bus stop who immediately introduced me to all her friends. While Rachel and I are not close anymore, some of those other friends are still among my closest.
13. Seasons of Love, from Rent by Jonathan Larson A year after we moved to Bloomington, I started high school. This was a big step for me, even more so than it was for everyone else. This was the first time since first grade that I had entered a new school at the beginning, with the rest of the students. With all the moving that my family had done, I had always entered in the middle, in a higher grade, into a school where everyone already knew each other. But I started high school from scratch along with my middle school friends. I felt that this is where I really started to feel a close connection with the city and the people, and really started to grow as a person.
14. For Good, from Wicked by Stephen Schwartz The following year was the year I met Annie. Annie has since become my other half. We instantly became extremely close, and we maintained that over the years. She has stood by me through so much, and to this day I don’t know what I would have done without her, especially as this was the year my paternal grandmother passed away. This was the first major death of someone close that I have had to deal with, and it was not easy for any of us.
15. Reflection, from Mulan by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel At around age fifteen, when I had already been in high school for some time, I started having difficulties with understanding myself as a person, and accepting my family and friends for what they were. This began a difficult time between me and my parents, especially, in which each was antagonizing the other, and life was generally miserable. I spent a lot of time trying to figure myself out. Luckily, I had Annie and my other best friend, Bob, to help and support me. Bob is another without whom my life would have looked completely different.
16. One Day I'll Fly Away, by Randy Crawford (Moulin Rouge version) Over the Rainbow, from The Wizard of Oz by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg By age sixteen, I had come no closer to finding a solution to myself, and I had a tendency to be down a lot. I would be happy around my friends and so forth, but I was frustrated that my relationship with my parents wasn’t better. It wasn’t bad compared to many other families that I knew of, but since we had always been so close, it was difficult to accept even minor changes in our relations. Also, pretty much all my friends had boyfriends/girlfriends except me, and I was starting to wonder if there was something seriously wrong with me.
17. Moon River, from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer All I Ask of You, from The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber Elaborate Lives, from Aida by Elton John and Tim Rice Leavin' On a Jet Plane, by John Denver This was a complicated year, and therefore in need of several songs. My senior year of high school was one in which my relationships with people would grow and diminish at alarming rates. My two closest friendships were put into jeopardy on two separate occasions, and my family and I would fluctuate between utter harmony and hellish explosions in a matter of minutes. This was also the year I had my first boyfriend, which was also an entirely new experience for me. But in that year, I managed to date two other people after Robert and I broke up. It was a year that was full of decisions and self-discovery, but resulted in the unearthing of someone far more mature. It was in this year that I decided to spend the following year in Israel, connecting with my roots, and postponing the life-shattering decision of what I ultimately wanted from college. This ended up being one of the best decisions I could have made, although it meant leaving behind Daniel, which was heart-wrenching at the time. We made it as a couple for a good length of time while I was abroad, but not quite the entire year.
18. A Little Fall of Rain, from Les Misèrables by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg My year in Israel, while extremely beneficial and a lot of fun in many ways, was very hard. As well as it being my first exposure to a university experience, which was more intense than I had anticipated, I lost two family members that year, the first of whom was my fourteen-year-old cousin, who completely unexpectedly died during the last week of November. That was a very difficult time for my entire family, but it was the event that succeeded in bringing my family close together again. I was extremely glad that we could be in Israel while it happened. It made it a lot easier to have the entire extended family close by. Later that year, my paternal grandfather passed away, leaving me with only one other grandparent – ironically, the one I have never been extremely close with. After both of these tragic events, I met Zusha, the final ex-boyfriend that I will mention in this landmark. He and I also became extremely close very quickly, but once again, my departure from Israel meant that that union had to be ended. While I was heartbroken, I understood that it was for the better. I had decided that music was my passion, and that that was what I wanted to pursue, so I applied to DePauw University and flew back to the US that summer.
19. Go the Distance, from Hercules by Alan Menken and David Zippel Come Fly With Me, by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen This year was, once again, a milestone in my life. I left home, and moved to my school, an hour away. My family and I were very tight-knit, as we had always been (even through the hard times in high school), so this was a big change. But I was finally ready to branch off and try something new, and it worked. I had an extremely successful first (official) year of college. I fell into a wonderful group of friends, I adore(d) my private teacher, and I was enjoying going to class. I had finally found my motivation and I was (am) loving it. Many close friendships were sparked this year, both in school and out.
20. At the Beginning, from Anastasia by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty Today, I am twenty years old. Everything you’ve just read (if you’ve made it this far) has been a powerful part of my life over the past two decades. Today, I am starting classes in my second year of being a music major at DePauw. I feel the need, at this point, to correct any misapprehensions that my life has been anything other than wonderful. Yes, I’ve had hard times and moments of grief, but my life would not be normal if I hadn’t. Today, I am happy to say that I have a great life at home, a great life at school, a wonderful boyfriend ( Lyrhawn), and enough maturity to be able to look back at the past twenty years with a smile, and to fully appreciate them. I didn’t mention Hatrack at all in this post, but not from lack of gratitude – all the wonderful people on this board have also played a colossal role in helping me discover who I am over the past four years or so. So with that, I thank you all for reading, and of course, for your friendship and support.
Happy Birthday/7000 posts, Raia! That was a really nice Landmark. A wonderful pleasure to read. And yeah, count me in the group that had no idea Lyrhawn was your boyfriend.
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Also, this is about a thousand years belated, but Raia was the Flame Haired Israeli Princess and Lyrhawn was the Historian Heartthrob of Hatrack Dating Game fame. I got really, really sidetracked and never finished posting the results, but after several long, arduous rounds, they DID in fact choose each other - although I think they both knew who the other was beforehand. CHEATERS!
Happy birthday! 20 was a great age for me; I got married and had my first baby that year... I hope yours is as exciting (although not necessarily in the same way. )
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