Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Do you measure out your life with coffee spoons?

No, because I don't drink coffee. But props to you if you got the literary reference.

Instead, apparently, I measure out my life with Taylor Swift albums.

The new one came out this week, and it's caused me to pause and reflect seriously about where I was in life when the others debuted. Allow me to escort you down my personal memory lane. . . .

I don't remember the exact moment I first heard Taylor Swift sing, but I remember the first song of hers that I actually liked. It was Our Song. The year was 2007, and I was working as an editor at BYU Independent Study. I was in the middle of my first of two senior years at BYU and I felt like I would NEVER be out of college or Provo. I remember hearing this song on my drive to work and thinking, "You know, this is pretty cute." I was not a fan of Teardrops on My Guitar. I don't mind it now, but at the time it was so overplayed and a little too weepy for me. But Our Song was different. I loved the fun fast lyrics and the twangy banjo. I'm a sucker for banjo music. Pretty soon I was singing along. Little did I know this was only the beginning. 

By the time her Fearless album hit stores the following year, I'd become a big fan. Of course, I was still a poor college student, so I couldn't afford to buy it right away. But I picked it up as soon as I could and in the meantime, I watched her music videos on Youtube repeatedly. Taylor's album came out in September, and in November/October of that year, I quit my job at BYU Independent Study so I could start full-time at Cedar Fort. Then in December, I finally finished my classes at BYU and moved into the world of real adulthood. I wasn't used to working in an office all day, so it was nice to have Taylor's voice in the background as I honed my book editing skills or worked on layouts and typesetting.

I distinctly remember the Speak Now release. By then I'd bought a house and was living in it with some roommates. One of them—Jess—was just as obsessed with Taylor as I was, so we drove in the snow to the Orem Target at like 9:00 at night to buy the new album and then we took a long circuitous route home so we could listen to it the whole way. So great. A few weeks later Jess and Josie, our other roommate, and me drove up Hobble Creek Canyon with our good friend Katie. The four of us sang along with Taylor the whole way. I still love that album. And those girls. And Hobble Creek Canyon.

This is Josie and me and Katie. They're going to hate me for resurrecting this photo. 
Sorry, girls! Still love you! :)

The next year when Taylor was on tour, I bought ridiculously overpriced tickets for the Salt Lake City show and took my littlest sister, Ali, who flew out here for it. It was actually my first concert ever, and we had a blast. Ali's all grown up now and all the way across the world in the Netherlands, serving a mission. I'm so proud of her. She may have outgrown Taylor by now; I don't know. But I'm glad we got to make that memory.

Red came out in October 2012, right after I bought an iPad and right before I went on a week long-trip to the East Coast. I know this because it was the only music I had on my iPad. So for that whole week, it was the only thing I could listen to. This was back in my pre-iPhone days, and my iPad only has a wi-fi connection, so for the most part as I was traveling there was no such thing as streaming music. 

But I didn't care. Taylor and I had a great time traveling from my parents' house in California to my sister's apartment in New York City. Then we took a megabus to Philadelphia and stayed with my college roommate Shelly and her awesome family before ending the trip in DC. Incidentally it took longer than a week because I was supposed to fly out the day after Hurricane Sandy. When all the flights got cancelled, I got to stay an extra few days with my best friend Nani. We were in Virginia, so we didn't get any major damage, but now I can say I've been through a hurricane!

And that brings us to 1989—Taylor's new album, not the year. 

Where am I now? Well, I live in Springville, only about 10 minutes away from my old Independent Study office. I've now been out of college for longer than I was in it. But the weird thing is, my college years felt like an eternity while working in an office seems to make time go on fast forward. I can't believe how fast the years have gone by.

I no longer live in a student apartment—thank goodness. And we sold that house I bought and rented to roommates. I'm not currently crashing in my parents' place, although that is always my backup plan and I obviously still stay there when I go back to visit during holidays. But yeah, I have my own place. I have a job I love (mostly) and a writing career that's gaining momentum. I guess you could say I'm like a real grown up now.

Of course that doesn't mean I'm going to quit having T. Swift dance parties by myself while I'm cleaning my room or singing along to her songs in the shower. Because honestly, the day I quit doing those things will be a sad, sad day.

And yes, Taylor's music has changed and life has changed and I've changed too along the way. But I'm grateful for everything I've learned in the past seven years and so excited about my future that I can't wait to see where I'll be by the time her next album comes out! 

Although there is always that small part of me that wonders if I'll have a boyfriend by then or have gone on even a small fraction of the number of dates Taylor will have gone on in that same timeframe. Oh well. If anything, her sadder songs remind me that there are worse things than not having a bf. Sometimes you're better off single than screaming or crying or missing someone like crazy. Just a little life lesson from our dear friend Taylor.

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