Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest musical memories is going to church choir with my dad. I don't know how old I was - younger than I was when I didn't make the chorus in sixth grade - but I remember the church. Though I went there for the shortest portion of my childhood (compared the church in the town we moved to when I was twelve), it was the one that mattered the most.
My memories of that church are hazy, but I remember it with fondness. It was the first church we went to as a family, or the first one I can recall anyway. I remember sitting on folding chairs for Mass, just beyond the edge of the sanctuary because the chapel area was so small. I thought I remembered Masses in Latin when I was very small, but when I do the math, I'm not entirely sure that's right.
Later on, as a teenager, I sang with the choir at school and sometimes with the choir at church as well. Music became a huge part of my life in high school, and my best memories are connected to the Drama Club and the music groups I participated in, and later on, led.
I always considered music just a hobby, but as an adult, I'm realizing how deeply music is rooted in me. When I want to do something more deeply, more quickly or more easily I add music. Music is how I pray best, how I de-stress, and how I make an undesirable chore more palatable.
Today's undesirable chore was the treadmill. I usually like the treadmill because I can read while I walk, but today, I abandoned my magazine for my mp3 player. I was tired when I got to the gym, and intended to do a short stint on the treadmill, move on the equipment and go home.
But a funny thing happened when I turned on the music. I found a song that was perfect for my walking pace...and then another...and I didn't want to stop.
To those who exercise regularly, this comes as no surprise. And, it shouldn't surprise me either. Every exercise program I ever stuck to involved music - it was the thing that made exercise fun for someone who has never considered herself athletic or graceful.
It was nice to discover that so many years after that last successful exercise program, music still has the same effect. What amazes me is how it can do so many things - soothe, inspire, cheer, mourn. Almost as though it has a personality of its own.
I wonder where it will pop up next.