Welcome to the monthly series where I write about the ideas and inspiration behind the Spotify playlists I release on the first of every month.
“Jesus. I’m another year older. What am I doing with my life? Shouldn’t I have everything figured out by now?”
That’s been the narrative inside my head for many years now when May 1st rolls around. Really nailing that self-love thing, right?
Things were different this year. I felt a little bit like myself as a child, when I would eagerly await my birthday so I could be one year older, one year cooler, one year closer to my older sisters’ ages. (It took me a while to realize that I was chasing a moving target with that one…)
Here’s the thing. I’m all about my 30s. I tell people all the time that they’re the best years I’ve had yet. But if I’m honest with myself, 31 was rough. I was ready to be done with it. Knowing my birthday would fall on the same day that I was scheduled to publish a new playlist, I thought I’d take the opportunity to celebrate my excitement by putting some songs together that represent the things I love about birthdays.
Have a party!
After a rough year, I felt like I needed a pick-me-up. Time to put some songs together to make me want to dance. That was my main intention with this playlist. It’s worked for me. Hopefully for you too. Try this: wake up one morning, press play on “Welcome to the Wonderful World of,” making sure you’re not on shuffle mode. By the time you get to work, I hope you’ve danced a bit and feel energized for the day ahead. That’s a micro version of what I was aiming for. Energizing myself for the year ahead.
Hear from a people you didn’t expect to hear from
This is my favorite thing about birthdays. Getting a message, an email, a Facebook post from people I haven’t heard from in a long time or wouldn’t expect to hear from. Little things like that really make me grateful for the wonderful people I have met in life. Cheesy as it may be, I tried to reflect that concept in this playlist through its variety. The tone is predominantly upbeat, per my my first point, but I layered in some surprising bits and pieces. It slows down, twists, turns, and kind of in the middle of nowhere includes an African chant.
Celebrate a new beginning
As you can see through the standard voice in my head on birthdays past, I’ve had a tendency to fear the concept of aging. This year, I flipped the script. I learned a lot while 31, but I was ready for a reset. Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that not much has changed circumstantially, but I’m working on adjusting my mindset. I also realize that I’m only human and I am certain I’ll continue to fall down and pick myself up, and fall down and pick myself up, and fall down and pick myself up, again and again and again. (“I still got a lot of shit to learn, I admit it.”) But this is me picking myself up. Set to the sounds of badass women like Beyonce and Lauryn Hill and Jain and Meg Mac and Billie Eilish and Sampa the Great and Sia and Noname and Maggie Rogers and Lizzo and others. Because I’m a badass woman inspired by these badass women.
So, here’s to 32. A new beginning I’m celebrating by surrounding myself with all sorts of wonderful people and a good soundtrack.
Everything is everything, what is meant to be, will be. After winter, must come spring, Change, it comes eventually.
– Lauryn Hill