As I get older, I’ve begun to realize what really motivates me. This has become particularly evident in my workout facilities. Because I’ve realized that I just can’t pretend anymore.
I know a lot of people feel pressured to constantly manipulate themselves in order to “stay relevant.” That word, “relevant,” really gets stuff in my craw. But I admit, I’ve done it. I swallowed whole doses of techno and AutoTune until my brain turned to soup between my ears in exercise classes and in podcasts. I’ve attempted to turn invisible in conversations about Mumford and Sons and boy bands. When I strap my feet into cycling shoes, I’ve ingest more than my Recommended Life Allowance of club music. A little of it is really good. Some of it has even made it into playlists on this site.
But, honestly, I am — and always will be — a rock and roll fan.
I turned to rock music immediately after Fischer Price tunes, people. I grew up with a mother who loved Al Green and Teddy Pendergrass as much as she loved Freddie Mercury of Queen and The Rolling Stones. Stevie Wonder played along with The Who in my house. My uncle Jay, five years older than me and already indoctrinated, got me my first real album, The Go Go’s Beauty and the Beat (a request) along with a cassette of something I didn’t even know I needed: Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind. I was nine. I’ve been hooked ever since.
You know what I’ve also discovered: I don’t need to suffer (and yes, my ears bleeding after too much synth-pop is suffering,) and I don’t have to live like that any more, and neither do you. My favorite yoga instructors at exhale, Stefani Eris and Lauren Harris, play awesome soothing playlists infused with Pearl Jam, The Church and Gotye. I’m a dedicated disciple of the hardest-rocking SoulCycle instructors out there, and if you need a good dose of music that will lift your soul, join me for Sue, Sean, and/or Noa’s classes. This weekend, I’m hitting my first Metal Yoga class in Brooklyn.
I’ve found these are the classes where I forget what time it is. When I strap my feet into spinning shoes for The Police and Led Zeppelin, I am completely unaware of the passage of time. Sean’s classes are effortless that way. Noa’s Rockstar ride on Sundays makes me so incredibly happy. I love flipping into Rockstar Pose when Lauren cranks Pearl Jam’s “Black.” When I rode on my birthday, Lori Abeles cranked Foo Fighter’s “All My Life” just for me, and I could have taken that bike off the floor I was kicking it so hard.
I take my hair down. I bang. I dance. I’m alive, and so present in the moment. I like it, I love it, and I want some more of it.
This week’s playlist is a salute to my rock and roll brethren, and to the fitness instructors that have reminded me that somewhere out there, your tribe awaits you. Find those people. Sue, Sean, Noa, Lauren, Stefanie and Lori A., and all those people out there who crank the guitars and drums in black with their fists in the air while they sweat their way to a better day… this one’s for you.
For those about to rock, I salute you. Your love of rock is amazing. You are vital. You are needed. You are absolutely, without a doubt, relevant.