It’s my second year in Minneapolis. It’s just another academic gauntlet. School is my stability. It doesn’t take long for things to get hazy. It doesn’t take long for the weather to get colder and the days to get shorter. It doesn’t take long for things to fade. It doesn’t take long to yearn for a different kind of fulfillment. It doesn’t take long to lose friends every time I don’t go back to Wisconsin and it doesn’t take long to lose other relationships either. I am on a cusp, I feel like I am on the verge of something, I feel uneasy.
“Still tasting youth’s bitter exile, here in your empty generation’s wasteland”
I search for something, anything, to hold on to, to make my own, and to have possession over. I rent my apartment, I rent my textbooks, I take temporary classes, I make temporary friends, I do meaningless assignments, I take meaningless notes. Any resemblance of my former self fades each week as I dive deeper into music and my city. I distance myself further and further from relationships. I find something that winter that I call my own. I find “Witness.”
It is the toughest year of my then 21-year-old life. It is the year I spend most of my time alone. It is the year that changes me. 2012 brings distance to my life, it brings heartbreak, it brings sadness, but above all it brings understanding. It brings an ability to attach to things of deeper meaning, in search of deeper value, and in search of deeper fulfillment.
“Hours pass through me, I’m tired of wasting time.”
I find an album that says all the right things at all the right times exactly how I needed them to be said in a way that was exactly what I wanted but was too afraid to actually hear. I find an album that is framed from a Midwestern scope, an album that’s sincerity matches its raw honesty. I finally find that “thing” I can truly call my own.
Modern Life is War has not been a band for 5 years. April comes, an announcement that they are getting back together, and an announcement of some shows. Friends notified, excitement building, ticket purchasing, plan making. I hop in a car with my best friends and drive to Iowa. I see a band playing the songs that mean the world to me. I see I am not the only one that this band has done this too. I feel humbled, comfortable, happy.
“Save me from ordinary, save me from myself.”
It is 2014.
I don’t use my friend “Witness” as much. I stop in and say hello from time to time and I remember the weight that each song had on me. As the year passes month by month I keep my friend around, as a reminder. But towards the end of the year I stop visiting my friend all together. I feel like it held it’s time and place for me in my life and I no longer am in that head space. I am happy with where I am and the new relationships I have nourished. It gathers dust, but is still there regardless.
“As foolish as these words may seem. As foolish as I may be.”
It is 2015.
I feel the urge to escape. My college experience comes to an end and this frightens me. Everything is coming together at once and yet nothing is cohesive and nothing is certain. Things slip away and the search for stability is once again present. I start to make lists. Lists of things to get done, jobs to find, places to live, favorite albums, favorite lyrics, people to call, shows to go to, things to buy. Music and the quantitative are the only things that makes sense.
Then another announcement. That Modern Life Is War is playing in my city, and not just in my city, but playing my album front to back. Tickets purchased in mid-April when the show is in mid-July. Life is uncertain and scary and boring and lonely and difficult. And I find things to hold on to. And I find myself front row lost in a tangling mess of bodies singing along to the lines that I used to write down and keep on a post-it note next to my bed. And I find that everyone else feels the same way as I do. And I find that “Witness” is still my best friend, it’s just been out of town for a while.
“They can never truly kill us, and we will never truly die.”
by Andy Wilcox (@wilco204)