Do you remember that icebreaker where you have to come up with an adjective for yourself that begins with the same letter as your first initial?

“Hi, my name is Mary, and I’m musical.”

I always went with the same answer, despite the dozens of options offered by my thesaurus. The problem I found with branching out is that so many “m” adjectives are negative. You’ve got maddening, malicious, manipulative, materialistic, measly, mediocre, meaningless, monotonous, monstrous, mousy, mundane and even murderous.

Then there are the less-than-feminine words that are also less-than-flattering: mannish, masculine, meaty, militant and muscular.

{Yes, I’m well aware that women can serve in the military and have big muscles. But I don’t. So they don’t really work for me.}

Next, we have the emotionally unstable “m” words: Machiavellian, maniacal, misanthropic, miserable, misunderstood, moody, mopey, morbid and morose. Yikes!

In all fairness, I will admit that some “m” words are ones that I’d love people to use when describing me: magical, magnetic, magnificent, marvelous, mature (although not in the gray hair or rated-R ways), meaningful, memorable, merciful, mesmerizing, miraculous, moving and multi-talented.

When it comes down to it, though, I’d prefer to be known for my musical abilities. Not that I’ve done much with them lately. But here’s hoping most people would still say I’m more musical than I am malicious, miserable or mannish!

All that to say, as I’ve been anticipating this day for the past couple of months, I’ve had a song list running through my head. Because despite my out-of-tune piano and my months-long absence from choir, I am musical.

Not necessarily in a spontaneously break into song, all the world’s a stage way. Although, as you know, I am a fan of jazz hands in most all circumstances.

Wondering what my mental mix tape sounds like? Want a peek into my current situation’s soundtrack? (Wish I would stop trying to force clever alliteration where none needs exist?)

Consider your wish granted. Well, not the alliteration part. Because I’m pretty sure I couldn’t stop that even if I tried. And, really, why would I?

Musical Mary’s Mental Mix Tape

The Middle by Jimmy Eat World
Something More by Sugarland
Bang on the Drum by Todd Rundgren
Take This Job by Johnny Paycheck
Lose Yourself by Eminem

The Middle is the song that’s gotten me through several phases of wanting to quit my job. Who wouldn’t be encouraged after hearing this phrase {over and over and over}: “It just takes some time, little girl, you’re in the middle of the ride. Everything will be just fine, everything will be all right.”

Sugarland actually has two songs that have resonated with me, career-wise. Since becoming a mom, All I Wanna Do is one that I sang many a morning between the babysitter and the office. But for the big picture of this, My Last Day of Work, Something More really speaks to how I feel about my career.

There’s gotta be something more
Gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time
I need a little more bliss
I’m gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might
Find what I’m looking for
There’s gotta be something more

“I don’t wanna work. I just wanna bang on the drum all day!” Well, who doesn’t? I mean, I don’t actually play the drums and, truth be told, I’m not a big fan of noise in general. But if we can use “bang on the drum” as a euphemism for “read a novel, Skype with my friends and catch up on my to-do list,” then it makes total sense.

You had to know Take This Job by the ironically named Johnny Paycheck would be on this list. And while I’m leaving my job on good terms, I’m not going to deny that a little part of me wants to tell someone, somewhere to “shove it.”

Last, but not least, I find Eminem – when he’s not being crazy, vulgar or misogynistic – inspiring. If you can deal with the language, this song – as well as Airplanes with BoB and the girl from Paramore – might just get you fired up to do something.

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
Would you capture it? Or just let it slip?

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo!

If you had to put together a soundtrack for today, this phase of your life, what would it be?

Images by takomabibelot and cassettes.


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