It could be anyone from Ingrid Michaelson to Bon Iver to Trey Songz to Kenny Chesney to Carrie Underwood to Vivaldi to Hillsong. But whatever it is, it is the moment when iTunes answers your silent request for that one song, the one that you've known the words to for years and secretly plan on auditioning with for American Idol Season 33 when no one who knows you now will recognize you.
And if you are like me, you immediately begin to sing to your keyboard, your monitor, your room at large. You forget that you share a small apartment with four other girls who probably don't want to hear your off-key rendition of "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain or your garbled "Everybody" by Ingrid. You forget that you are NOT, in fact, the leader of the next great hip hop dance team and you cannot one-two step like Ciara. You believe for 3 minutes and 51 seconds that everyone is listening to you sing in pure awe and wonder.
And maybe halfway through the song you realize that you are no longer sitting in your desk chair but standing up and belting it out! Maybe you realize you have grabbed the nearest pen/pencil/hairbrush and are crooning into it, and putting the song on repeat so that you can hit that high note again. And, embarrassed at catching yourself in your purple sweatpants and pink tank top and grungy loafers, without makeup or airbrushing, belting out "Defying Gravity" as if Lea Michele was about to be fired and you were the new Rachel on Glee, you return to your seat, shake your hair back into a ponytail and try desperately to pretend you have been doing your homework all along.
But I was talking to a dear friend this weekend who was visiting DC about life and other such things, and I remember vaguely saying, "Why do we take ourselves so seriously as college students? We are so young! This, this dating world, this relationship search, this crying ourselves to sleep over our new/old/nonexistent boyfriends or girlfriends is NOT the summit of life!"
Wait - what? WHAT!? The summit of life isn't finding a relationship? I'm not supposed to be looking longingly at every diamond/platinum ring that passes by me on the Metro? I'm not supposed to be asking every night that God send me a boyfriend? Are you sure? I was really pretty sure for a second that college was like one of those speed dating nights in a random Holiday Inn in Milwaukee or Boise where you ring a bell and hope that you meet your soulmate in exactly 2 minutes and 29 seconds. I was pretty sure I should be thinking of college as my little window of time to seal this deal and experience the one most important thing in life as a young woman - a relationship!
I know, we all know that when it's put like this we are all going to say, "Of course not! Of course there is more to it than that. Of course we want our lives to be filled with the joy of discovering the diversity of God's will for the many places of our lives. Of COURSE it's not about the guy or girl."
But take a second and think back to this past weekend. Did you have a moment when you saw a cute couple snuggling on a bench by the pond and think, "dang it, why isn't that me!"? Did you listen to a newly engaged friend talk about their fiancé(e) and grimace a little because your mind flashed to the pint of Ben & Jerry's you were going to console your single self with when you were through hanging out with them? Did you perhaps lie in your bed looking at the splotch on your ceiling and pray that God send you someone to love and care for, and who could love you with the same passion and devotion? Did you maybe, just maybe, hold three wedding magazines in CVS and hope that someone thought you were buying them because you were getting married, and not just taking an unhealthy interest in all things wedding related?
To differing degrees, these little moments are all part of our underlying belief that the most important thing to do in life is fall in love and find someone. We give in to the belief for so many reasons I can't name them now, but when I see wedding magazines I have to repeat this mantra to myself to stop the $7.99 from flying out of my wallet: THIS IS NOT THE SUMMIT OF MY LIFE! I AM ONLY 20! I HAVE YEARS AND YEARS TO SING LOUDLY IN FRONT OF MY COMPUTER WITHOUT NEEDING TO BE DATING, YEARS AND YEARS TO DANCE AROUND IN MY LIVING ROOM AND GO EAT CUPCAKES!
So here is my point, after all that rambling. Sing your song loudly. Sing to your mirror, your computer, your TV, your friends. Sing off-key and with a big grin on your face. I promise, this is only the very beginning of life - there is so much to be seized here in this moment, without worrying that the summit of existence is passing us holding hands with a Banana Republic model. There is so much joy to be known without panicking that we are missing the tiny window of our "dateability" and when we wake up in the morning, those three minutes we spent singing our favorite song will have made the difference between a life of wedded bliss and a life of miserable hairbrush-crooning.
And if you need some musical inspiration, sing to these songs (and then add your own!):
Just Dance (Lady Gaga)
I Was Made for Sunny Days (The Weepies)
The Chain (Ingrid Michaelson)
American Honey (Lady Antebellum)
Into the Ocean (Blue October)
Dynamite (Taio Cruz)
Paperweight (Joshua Radin and Schuyler Fiske)
Mine (Taylor Swift)
The Sun Doesn't Like You (Norah Jones)
Awake My Soul (Mumford and Sons)
Angel (Kate Voegele)
Blood Bank (Bon Iver)
Party in the U.S.A. (Miley Cyrus)