Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Soundtrack of My Life, Could We Start Again Please?

If you didn't vote in Battle of the Bands, go back one post. The Soundtrack of My Life is here again.

This is the last thing I'll be posting from my high school years. Whew. I know. What a relief!

I started going to summer camp the summer before 7th grade. I loved it. At first, I attended one week of the summer and eventually went as long as they were open for business (four-five weeks). Camp was a place that spiritually grounded me (and I needed grounding!). I loved the experience so much I participated in their CILT (Camper In Leadership Training) Program. I graduated CILT the summer between my junior and senior years of high school.

Holy freakin' moly, but that was a hard summer. The worst part was that I simply did not see it coming. I was excited about it before I got to camp. Within a few days, the reality hit me... these were the last two weeks I'd be a camper. Ever. As in Forever. In two very short weeks I was going to be the "adult," the counselor, the leader, the person who guided others and made sure they had a good week at camp. Meanwhile, most of my camp friends were going to be way up on the hill in the A-frame house I'd learned to call "home" having the summer of their lives. Without me.

Have you thought about your transition into adulthood? I think for most of us it comes rather slowly. We finish high school, maybe college or tech school, get a job, and one morning we wake up and realize that we are independent. On our own. Making a paycheck, paying bills, "living the dream." In other words, it happens silently and almost without notice. So silently it's painless.

My summer was the Opposite of that.

I took a hard right turn into Adulthood and had two weeks to accept it. (Yeah, that didn't go very well.)

We always sang a lot at camp. After breakfast. After lunch. After dinner. Around the campfire. Singing was a big part of our lives. I recognize, in hindsight, that all of that music probably was one of the reasons I loved camp as much as I did. For a girl with a song in her heart, is there a better place to be????

That summer the Theme song, which we sang at least once a day, was Linger. That can't have been coincidence. God was laughing at me. I swear that must be true. I bawled my eyes out in front of the entire camp at least twice a day. All the way through that song. Every. Single. Time. It was truly humiliating when I was the counselor. My mother says I ruined my contact lenses that summer. I believe it. I cried all summer long. I was grieving. Grieving my childhood. Grieving that rite of passage into adulthood... a place I thought I wanted to go, but when faced with it... not so much.

What I learned that summer... you can want to linger, but life always moves forward. Adulthood is waiting for you (and will grab you) whether you're ready or not.

Did you slip into adulthood without noticing, or did it crash into you like a train?


  1. The summer before my senior year in college, a friend asked me if I was excited about graduating. My answer was an emphatic "NO." The following May, I cried at graduation, cried on my way back home, cried at night...well, you get the picture. It took me a couple of years to get anywhere near adjusted. In fact, when I think about it, I'm pretty sure I only became an "adult" a few years ago...

    Glad you had such a lovely camp experience. Hard to leave it, but at least it was a part of the package.

    1. Liza, I'm still working on getting to "adult," but I think I'm gaining on it! Honestly, writing these Soundtrack posts is getting harder instead of easier. I'm several posts ahead of you in the writing, and I can't believe the bonehead things I did (and thought), and based on the thinking... did. I had some really screwy Belief Systems in place that didn't serve me well at all.

      Anyway, I kinda think that reaching adulthood (or maturity maybe?) is PERCEIVING the world in a healthier way. That manifests in making healthier choices.

      I think the crying happened for me (and maybe for you) because on a deep level we knew that we weren't ready to make those choices. We weren't ready for the status of "adult." I don't know... I just know this was really painful for me. I see that it was also very painful for you. Reading the rest of the comments... well, doesn't seem to be much of a cakewalk for anyone thus far...

  2. Hi, Robin!

    I can picture you singing "Linger" and shedding tears. I have experienced the same flood of emotion when chapters of my life came to an end. Your story reminds me of the week long motivational seminars that I attended in the 1980s, first as a participant and later as a trainer. In 1987 I served as chief videographer for one of the events and produced a 60 minute documentary from it. Through the lens of the camera, I witnessed people of all ages from all over the U.S. and Canada undergo a transformation. In seven days a hundred strangers became one family. I watched as those in attendance acquired advanced communication skills that enabled them to have better relationships with family and friends and made them more effective in their careers. People with fears and phobias confronted them head-on and conquered them. The event culminated in the metaphorical fire walk "turning fear into power." Children joined men and women, including one woman in her late 80s, to walk barefoot across a bed of fire. I performed the walk on five different occasions and can testify that it is an empowering, life changing experience. On the final day of the seminar there were massive group hugs. Anchor songs played through the loudspeaker and a 100 person "love train" formed and wound its way through the large conference room, a spectacle that reminds us how good it feels to join together in peace and harmony and be as one. Back at the television station, I literally cried for three solid weeks as I edited the program and relived all of those special moments. I make a point of watching that documentary at least once a year to get back in touch with all those powerful feelings.

    Thank you and have a wonderful Wednesday, dear friend Robin!

    1. Mr. Shady,

      That sounds like an awesome experience. The only thing bittersweet about it is that it's part of a bygone time. However, I'm so glad you've got the video so that you can revisit such an empowering moment. Make that moments.

      Lucky for you, you can "Linger" with that video as often as you like!

    Oh, wow, I can sure understand how you would have found that song devastating to sing. Hellck, I myself almost cried just listening to it.

    For me, I think the transition to adulthood was also sudden, rather than gradual. If I had to select one segment of my life that most illustrated that transition it was probably when I was just 14 years old and going through the Police Explorer Academy.

    Suddenly, I had to look sharp, think sharp, react sharply, and stand up under immense - IMMENSE! - pressure for 16 weeks, as a 14 year old boy. As I previously mentioned, despite being amongst the youngest at the Academy, I had one of the highest overall grades in my graduating class. (I scored a 32% on my first notebook, a 100% on my final notebook, with maybe 3 or 4 100% in-between them. I don't think anyone had scored a 100% on a notebook in the Academy's history, prior to my first.)

    But it was like a military boot camp only far, far more stressful and "in-your-face" than most REAL military boot camps today. I've looked into this and people always think I'm kidding or lying, but it's true. Most Army and Navy boot camps today are pretty wimpy compared to what I voluntarily went through as a young teenager in 1974.

    I really grew up in the Academy, and that's probably where I proved my manhood. (It was also at that same time when I literally saved my Brother's life due to extreme first aid techniques I'd learned at the Academy.)

    Years later, I regressed back into childhood, as much as whiskey will allow, but really, there was "no going home again" after the Academy.

    I used to dabble in poetry, and one of my recurring poetic themes was the loss of childhood. I still feel that deeply, which is why a song like 'LINGER' truly moistens my eyes.

    It probably won't happen tonight (the TRT Gang is TRTing 'Swingers'), but I expect to send a r-E-ply to your E before this week is out.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

      There's a song by Eddie Money titled 'MY FRIENDS, MY FRIENDS'. I'm sure you could find it at YouTube. That song slays me, because it's about remembering friends and times that will never come around again.

      Also, I own the Winnie-The-Pooh books, and that last chapter in 'THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER ' (Chapter X: 'An Enchanted Place') is, in my opinion, the saddest thing in the history of Literature. I can't read it without crying. (I just now tried and failed yet again.)

      ~ D-FensDogG

    2. Reading these comments make me wonder if my premise was wrong. Maybe people don't just slide into adulthood painlessly. Based on the comments, I'd say that most people feel adulthood is thrust upon them. And, no, we can "never go home again." Speaking of that, do you ever have dreams in which you walk around your childhood home? I do. It's the only time I can go home again. I always wake up from those happy/sad.

      On the one hand, 14 is really young to shift into adulthood. On the other hand, if you hadn't gone through that program Nappy wouldn't be here today. So, on most days I suspect you'd say... 'worth it." ha. Just kidding. I know that you'd think that every day:)

      Not familiar with that song, but I'll look it up. I'm still missing a song for a good friend post. Maybe that one will fit my bill? If so, again... not a coincidence.

      Anything that you read and makes you cry... well, that's powerful stuff.

  4. Hi Robin, I am visiting your blog from a referral from Chris at Tilting at Windmills. I am a new follower of your blog now because I love it! You're writing is great and I am obsessed with music and the soundtrack of life is an amazing topic. I am so glad I found you. I have never heard that song Linger and I can see why it would make you cry. I never went to summer camps but I always wanted to . I was in the drillteam though and had to go to dance camps every summer. I can assume its similar with the idea of getting close to girlfriends in a small amount of time.

    1. Welcome to my blog and this crazy ride I'm on right now. So much of life is painful and I'm not going to charitably go around those things so that we all don't feel bad. I've become a believer that the only way out is through. So, I hope you hang in there and don't decide I'm insane a few weeks from now.

      I'm about to leave the house, but I promise to come back and visit your blog (and CW's place for a big hug and TY).

      As for camp... it's always about friends, but it was primarily a Bible camp. The goal was to help kids in their walk with Jesus. My walk got derailed that summer by a hard push into adulthood. Ironically, the following summer I enjoyed being a camp counselor. I'd gone through the grieving and was equipped to enjoy it.

    2. OMG I've hooked up more people! Either I gotta find a way to get paid for this, or hide against the masses coming with pitchforks...

    Forgive me for speaking to a Princess Queenie this way but...

    WTH?! Why don't you join us for "THE RETRO THEATRE" tonight? We start the movie at 6:00 PM Pacific Time, right on the dot.

    Tonight, it's 'SWINGERS'. You've seen it before? Very, very funny movie, and I'll bet you could use a laugh right about now.

    ~ D-FensDogG

    1. We can email about TRT. I can't do it on Wednesdays because we have choir practice at church that night. So I can't do the movie for tonight. I have other issues (since I don't use Netflix) in "acquiring" the movie, but my mom has an Amazon Prime account. I think I can stream movies onto our Blu Ray player, though I've never done it. Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur in this techie age. I barely manage to get this blog posted...

      Do you guys "discuss" the movie via email? If so, are the other TRT members cool with adding me to the group? Anyway, when you rEply to me E, you can include the answers to those questions, too. :)

  6. When I saw the title of the song I was thinking the Cranberries' single from 1993 and thought "How does that work?"

    I've churned out a lot of lyric poetry in my time, and childhood's end was a recurring theme-kind of a universal feeling for us all.

    Nowadays I do not write that much, but when I do the theme is "where did the time go?"

    1. Yes, the further into these comments I get, the more I see that there is a universal aspect to this feeling (which is good, because it really is a big part of the point of this series).

      I don't know where the time went. All I know is that the minutes tick by faster every day!

  7. What a sweet song, which BTW I had never herd before, for a bittersweet memory.

    At seventeen I was shoved up against a wall, and thrust headlong into adulthood. Something I've been trying to 'get over' ever since.

    1. Ah crap.

      I think we can spend a great deal of our lives trying to heal the trauma of our teens. You may not think you're "over it," but based on our "talks," I'd say you've come further than you know.

  8. Hi Robin. Your experience still seems painful because the memories hold some very dear moments. I cannot begin to understand your situation then or now, but I have compassion for the memories of painful times. What we learn then, and bring forward to influence another time, gives way to more learning. That way growth never stops.

    I sometimes think I was born an 'old soul'. My movement from childhood to adulthood so gradual, I simply kept walking the path before me. I anticipated love in all forms... and practiced the best way to give. Today I practice the best way to receive. Maybe that's the key to my happiness. Knowing that loving it all with few or no regrets aids my life in a peaceful walk.

    Bittersweet song - maybe one day you'll be able to listen and see what someone else saw. Maybe those who wanted you to Linger but knew you couldn't. How well did they hide their sadness from you - not wanting to add to your burden? It's often difficult to love parts of our past... and yet... we can be released. You are a very sweet and sensitive person. Your past has shaped a 'you' I love.

    Most sincerely, Dixie

    1. I posted in a comment above (before reading this) that the next summer at camp was so much easier. I think a great deal of life is about acceptance.

      Wow. I read your comment and it blows me away.

      <<<----I anticipated love in all forms... and practiced the best way to give. Today I practice the best way to receive. Maybe that's the key to my happiness. Knowing that loving it all with few or no regrets aids my life in a peaceful walk.

      Today, I struggle withe giving and receiving. I think maybe receiving is the hardest part of all. Or maybe anticipating love is the hardest part of all. In any event, I want to anticipate, give, and receive and am working very hard at growing my soul to get there. I know it might not seem like it, but these Soundtrack posts are helping to process the past so that I do better in the future.

      Thank you for this comment, Dixie. Much to think about here.

      <<<---Your past has shaped a 'you' I love.

      Right back at you!

  9. I couldn't wait to be out of high school and find my own path. In some ways I grew up early but was still very naive...I guess a dreamer. What I love to say is I still feel like I have to grow up and I am 51 soon:) I can't think that my one friend has 3 teenagers. We were talking about this and laughing because we still feel total young 20's nuts

  10. I lived in a house that was loving, but rather stifling. Nobody ever took risks. Everybody lived by a schedule that involved maximum cleanliness. The household ran by Mom's vacuuming and dusting. I couldn't wait to get out on my own, but it took me awhile to find my own way.

    This past year, my husband and I worried about our daughter and her college applications -- and how she seemed to be dragging her feet. We knew something was wrong, and it was a relief when she finally burst into tears and confessed: She didn't want to leave. She wasn't ready to be an adult.

    Now, it's established that she's taking a gap year. She deferred her acceptances, and she's going to do the best thing we can possibly think of to transition in to adulthood. She's going to WORK. Right now, she has a job at a pizza joint making under minimum wage for cash under the table. (While having the safety net of her childhood home.)

    If it takes her a year to transition, that's fine. I think she'll be ready for college in a year's time.

  11. I think I was already an old soul as a baby, because I was ready for adulthood at a very early age. If you can believe it, I actually volunteered to do the ironing,housework, and cooking when my age was still in the single digits. (Sheesh. What an idiot!) There was no summer camp for me, but there was lots of singing. Still is. :)

    Great post, Robin. I guess I'm different I ran headlong into adulthood, and could hardly wait to leave home.

  12. Your camp experience was a good one, I think. Even those times when you cried you were in retrospect of your life, your feelings, and wondering what adventures lay ahead on your journey as you made that difficult transition from child to adult. For me, I didn't hit adult hood until it was forced on me after I got sober. And, even then, I went kicking and screaming :)

  13. Graduating college was exciting, until I had to sign up for insurance and find a place to rent. Then I got really depressed. I liked being a kid- I didn't want to be an adult.

    Salt deposits are really hard on the contacts!

  14. When I saw the song "Linger" I thought of the song by the Cranberries and became confused thinking that meant you are the same age as my daughters since they used to like that song. Never heard of the version you're talking about.

    I never went a church camp, but attended a school camp during 6th grade. I loved it as it was my first time away from my parents. Though afterward I still felt like a kid.
    Since I lived with my parents until I was about 24 I didn't have that on my own feeling even though I was working and making my own money.

    I think adulthood really began to hit me after my son was born when I was 26. Having kids kind of starts making one think of responsibility in most cases. My mind felt the same in a lot of ways, but that awareness of adulthood was pretty much there from then on forward.

    For the most part though adulthood was something I eased into.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Road trippin' with A to Z
    Tossing It Out

  15. I remember the "Linger" song, but I don't think I heard it until my sorority days in college. I was never adventurous enough to go to overnight camp. Just going to day camp was pretty traumatic for me. I almost drowned once, because the counselors thought I was just kidding around. Fortunately, another camper saved me. My friends who loved overnight camp, were also heartbroken when they could no longer attend as campers.



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