Falling out of love is common. Those few notes that once signaled the onset of butterflies, goosebumps or even the need to sing loudly into a hairbrush often subside, leaving the oh-so-familiar feeling of nothingness that’s comparable only to running into your ex-high school love at a grocery store.
Only it’s not your high school love, your college boyfriend, or the man you thought you’d marry. Fickle as it is, it’s a band. Because if you’ve once clung to an album or recited a song with the conviction that some reserve to pledge allegiance, you too understand the feeling of being shaped by something so meaningful that to eventually gaze upon it with emptiness feels wrong.
Of course, it wouldn’t be natural if it didn’t happen. And yes, there are the groups that transcend adolescence and adulthood, and take such a permanent residence in your heart that the notion of parting with them would be the equivalent of burning down your childhood home. But then there are the others. The others that represent a time, a feeling or even a person that soon gave way to the next, leaving you looking at the past with the unfamiliarity of someone who can’t recognize herself in the mirror anymore.
It’s the feeling you get when you see an old friend and can’t move past small talk. It’s that disconnect that ensues when you realize your university major isn’t your passion. It’s that alienation of standing in a room full of people and realizing you have nothing in common with anyone. It’s growing up. It’s evolving. And it’s inevitable.
You transition, you move on, and that album that meant the world once upon a time now reminds you of how foolish you felt when that guy broke your heart. That band you saw three times in a week now represents those awkward years when you were trying to figure out who you were or what you’d become. And that song is now simply an anthem of long ago, evoking imagery you’d rather keep at arm’s length because you can’t believe you were once a person who typed song lyrics into your ICQ info box.
And you wish them the best. The bands, the musicians and the artists that shaped you can’t be punished for your own changing tastes. You want them to succeed, you tip your hat, you shake their hand; but like you’d do to that ex in the grocery store, you don’t reignite the flame. It’s out, it’s over, and the new version of who you are isn’t who you once were – and neither are they.
But such is life. Stagnation is dangerous. Your friends change, your life changes, your soundtrack begins again. And maybe when that band comes through and you have time to see them, you’ll listen to their music without flinching or shaking your head. Because like falling out of love, they once meant the world, and because of that, they’ll always be a part of you.