Mixed Tape

A Mixed Tape For Life

There’s nothing quite like a mixed tape. It’s a hallmark of my fellow Gen Xers, and we made them for various reasons, much like we do today on Spotify, but it’s not the same. 

They had this imperfectly perfect quality of abrupt edits, talkative DJs spoiling a song’s intro, and a magnetic hiss of background noise that challenged the creative process. Back then, you couldn’t download songs. You had to buy the whole album, borrow from friends, or pirate music from college radio or Casey Kasem. 

What takes AI seconds today took a day or more to curate a carefully themed playlist. We obsessed over which songs and in which order because our space to communicate what may have been challenging to say and spark the desired response was limited. It was a trial balloon of hope that the receiver felt the same about you.

In the blank spaces on the cassette’s paper sleeve, we wrote your name, each song, and the artist and decorated it with flair. Then, we shared it in person or through snail mail and waited.

Did they like it? 

Will they call? 

Do they feel the same way I do about them?

Once it was out there, you couldn’t delete or edit it like a social post today. Sometimes, the tape would get all twisted, or their cassette player would eat it, but with some patience and a Ticonderoga pencil, all could be saved. The process—from curation to listening—was vulnerable.

The cassette tape followed the path of the 8-track with the introduction of CDs. They also faded away when we began streaming. 

Technology may have made things easier, but not necessarily better.

There’s value in creating something slowly and intentionally. We will never experience all of the World’s moments, so it’s wise to be more thoughtful about what kind of life we curate. Life is like a mixed tape. It dances with our soul, which technology doesn’t have. 

But it makes sharing this mixed tape I created for you easier.

Until next week, have fun storming the castle! 


Also, be sure to save your spot for our special ‘Unpack Your Rocks In Your Backpack’ Mental Health Awareness event on May 15th at 9 pm Eastern. It’s free, but like a mixed tape, there’s limited space. 

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