I recently unearthed the entirety of my music collection, something that I began to carefully curate as soon as I got my very first laptop, the summer before university. There are old high school era burned CD mixes, party songs from residence and a random smattering of every other genre under the sun (with a strong lean towards mash ups).

There is so much hidden in this music library. Goodness—the memories. The songs from the burned CD, stolen from the cute guy’s car. The anthem from my university housemates. The melancholy music from darker days, the upbeat sugar pop that carried me through countless miles.

On top of the memories, there are the messages in the songs. Before text message and winking emojis, mixed tapes and CDs was where it was at. Reading the lyrics in the liner notes, decoding the secret message in the mix. If you put Bohemian Like You on a mix for me, does that mean you like me? Or you think I’m bohemian?

Either way, both are cool.

Does some dark Eminem accurately convey the trials and tribulations of high school? Is the carefully constructed mix CD case, complete with Britney Spears cut outs, something you do only for the best of friends?

Finding this gold mine of music has blown my mind. Instantly transported to dormant memories, the music is a crystal clear soundtrack of my life. The acid jazz from ripping around downtown in a Mini Cooper. The soundtrack to the movie The Commitments, listened to on a Walkman, poolside on a family vacation. The Beastie Boys on a snowboard trip, their beat matching perfectly to a drop onto the hill. Studying to Talib Kweli throughout all of fourth year.

The happy songs, sad songs, powerful songs—they all reach deep into the recesses of my mind and pull me back to a movie of my life.

When I walk to work, sometimes a great song comes on through my headphones. A soundtrack-if-we-were-making-a-movie song. I think to myself “Mental note made—I would totally select this track for the movie version of my life.” After this archeological dig into my iTunes, I realize that this music works in reverse. Instead of acting as a soundtrack to what is currently happening, it catapults me back to the poignant moments.

There is so much I could delete, cull, clean up. There are duplicates, goofy theme songs and tracks I don’t know that I could even name. But that would be like throwing away the memories. I’ll keep my Team Canada, Freek-a-Leek and Sex and the City theme song, thankyouverymuch. Music, whether I’ve realized it or not, is a huge part of my life, from swaying to Bob Marley in my mom’s kitchen as a baby to sharing it across my family like trading cards. So if you ever scroll through my iTunes and see some questionable lineups, just keep going. They are all meant to be there.