Observing what type of ads Spotify chooses to play amuses me greatly. And I get lots of chances, because living at home with a collection of musical individuals means that I end up hearing several different mixes.
For example, for a while the Spotify account connected to my mom’s facebook account was convinced that she was the target audience for ship stations. Like, when you’re running your own business and you need a convenient alternative to going to the post office all the time? It was super weird, because every other ad seemed to be about that, and no one in this household has any need to meter our own mail.
My Spotify is currently a mix of career advancement opportunities and higher education plugs, hair care, and jewelry advertisements. Spot-on on the one hand, but way off on the other. I don’t even have a boyfriend to elbow meaningfully when Jared is advertising their latest collection of Valentine’s Day diamonds.
So, thanks, algorithms. I now feel more single than ever.
Life lately has been full of a lot of music and a lot of choosing to smile. Because the past month-and-a-half of my life has not worked out at all the way I’ve expected. Despite plans to the contrary, I am still living at home. Despite plans to the contrary, the only construction projects I’ve undertaken are the tiny meaningless ones that I sometimes do on a whim when the family’s all gone from the house. (I built shelves where there used to be a trash compactor, and now my poor dad tries to close the cabinet every time he passes it, except there’s no door to close… Whoops.)
It’s been a rough month.
How does one get through a rough month?
Well. It takes a lot of music. It helps if your favorite artist releases an album full of joy in darkness. There might be a playlist full of the songs that quiet your soul and refocus your trouble mind. You’ll have to dance sometimes, wild and abandoned and unobserved, because it reminds your soul to dance. Sometimes you’ll hate driving because it means that you can only throw one hand to the heavens in worship if you’re going to keep holding onto the steering wheel.
It’s going to take some friends. Sometimes they’ll be close enough to wrap you in a hug, but most of the time it’s going to be their words that carry you. Because you’re alone in a town full of strangers, and as much as your family loves you and you love them, there’s nothing quite like your peers who’ve peered into your soul and identified with your struggles. Late night phone calls will get you through and coax laughter from your aching chest.
It’ll probably take some art. If you can create for someone else, so much the better. But there will be paintings. Videos. Sketches. A rabbit hutch that looks like a castle, the one you’ve been dreaming up since you sat those long afternoons on a carriage in the middle of Main Street, Mackinac. And bake. Bake a cake and cover it in the messiest layer of frosting ever, because art is a little abstract sometimes.
Keep your chin up. Maybe you’ll eventually learn which seat at the table is yours? (But probably not, because it’s constantly changing based on who’s visiting whom and who has rehearsals for what tonight.) Perhaps someday you’ll learn how to not be terrified navigate the six-way death-trap-of-a-stop-sign when you pick kids up at the end of the school day? (Who are you kidding; that thing is a nightmare and always will be.)
Most importantly, dear one, cling to your great God tighter than ever. He’s still here as he teaches you to wait, still here as he teaches you to listen. There are still great plans for your future, even as you sleep in a corner and scavenge the garage for dresses to wear to the church that you can’t make yourself fall in love with. Keep looking for his fingerprints on the messy canvas of your days—you’ll find them; I promise. Keep a prayer on your breath.
It’s alright that this time of life is hard; it just means you’ll come out stronger.
It’s alright that tomorrow seems uncertain; it just means you can focus on today.
It’s alright that plans change and things don’t seem to work out. It’s alright.
The sunrise is going to be spectacular.
And in the meantime, Spotify will keep mixing up a steady dose of hope and diamond ads.