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Five Motivational Songs from My Childhood

Nostalgic Music to Help You Dream Big and Take Risks

Kai and Gerda from The Snow Queen (1957)

Have you ever felt like Rapunzel wondering, "When will my life begin?" Life is about taking risks that can lead to amazing changes and opportunities, but often, it's scary to leave a place where you are feeling at ease and safe. In the comfort of our own homes, we vicariously live out the stories of others in the books, shows, and movies we read and watch—but don't you think it's time to go on a journey of your own? Here are five songs from my childhood that I revisit every once in awhile when I need just that little push or reminder that adventure is always out there. But only if you dream big and take risks. Even if you are living your best life at this moment, listening to these songs will leave you feeling good. Enjoy!

"As Long As I Have You" from 'The Snow Queen' (1957)

The Snow Queen was the first film I watched from Mikhail Baryshnikov's Stories from My Childhood series, which all feature gorgeous colors, animation, and music. This anthology of fairy tales includes 11 Russian and European stories, some classic and some less familiar to Western readers. If you've only watched Frozen and are unfamiliar with the original story, I highly recommend you watch this version and, of course, the other films in this collection. Many of them can be found on YouTube, but are sadly in poor grainy quality. This song, "As Long As I Have You," is featured at the end of the feature when Gerda rescues her best friend, Kai from the Snow Queen. Even though her journey has ended this song promises new ones.

"Follow Me" from 'Fraggle Rock' (1983 to 1987)

Fraggle Rock is one of Jim Henson's most important works and is often overshadowed by The Muppets and Sesame Street. This song is featured in the first episode, "Beginnings," where Gobo's Uncle Travelling Matt discovers a way to leave Fraggle Rock and venture out into our world. Thus begins the adventures of Gobo and his friends, as they sing songs and get into trouble. Each episode, Gobo receives a postcard from his Uncle, talking about his funny findings and accounts on the Silly Creatures (humans) in Outer Space. "Follow Me" is a song that assures you that today, tomorrow, and everyday will be an adventure.

"Once Upon a Time in New York City" from 'Oliver and Company' (1988)

Oliver and Company is the most underrated Disney film. A modern adaptation to the classic Oliver Twist, it tells the tale of an orphaned cat who is taken in by a gang of street dogs, led by a cool cavalier voiced by Billy Joel. Having been born and raised in NYC, it's easy to see this place as a land of competition rather than opportunity. While others dream of moving into this metropolis, I know many people who are looking to get out. Living in an area with over eight million people can be quite suffocating, but listening to this song, you can't help but fall in love with it again and again.

"If We Hold on Together" from 'The Land Before Time' (1988)

Don Bluth's films are America's national treasure. He is best known for Anastasia, Thumbelina, The Secret of NIMH, All Dogs Go to Heaven, An American Tail, and my favorite The Land Before Time. After Littlefoot is left orphaned, he sets out to find the legendary Great Valley. Along the way, he meets new friends, but is also being tracked down by the carnivore that killed his mother. This film is an emotional rollercoaster, and once you think it's all over, this beautiful song starts to play in the credits and the water works start going again.

"Whatever You Imagine" from 'The Pagemaster' (1994)

So far, this list hasn't been in any particular order, but the best has been definitely saved for last. Composed by the legendary James Horner, who also created the song above, "Whatever You Imagine" is a song that never fails to captivate your heart and spirit. The Pagemaster is a magical film that mixes live action and animation (and stars that Home Alone kid) and in elementary school after everyone finished lunch and it was raining outside, we all went into the auditorium to watch this movie. Richard is a 10-year-old pessimist who has panphobia. Trapped in a storm, he seeks shelter in a library where he finds himself in a world of classic fictional characters and befriends three anthropomorphic books: Adventure, Fantasy, and Horror.

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