Like many people, I’ve spent the last week contemplating how it will feel – physically and emotionally – to move about in a more vaccinated world.
I have thought about how I can become a better person, post-pandemic.
I want to do more to help others and have researched ways I can volunteer, mentor, and give, in general.
I have also spent a good amount of time googling Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
I’m doing my best here.
After news surfaced last week that the ex-couple – whose romance spanned from 2001 to 2003 – had reunited after Lopez ended her engagement to Alex Rodriguez, I eagerly went online looking for any and all information. I stared at paparazzi photos of Affleck and Lopez taken over the weekend in Montana. I wondered if they were really dating again after 17 years or if they were just hanging out as friends. Then I felt bad about myself for intruding.
I know it’s none of my business. I do not know either of these famous people (obviously), nor do I want to be gross about their romantic lives, which are their own to enjoy, with as much privacy as possible.
But then I realized, my search wasn’t about them. It’s about me and the kind of soundtrack I love.
A beautiful thing came out of Affleck and Lopez’s relationship, something I revisit often. Not the photos of them taken at Fenway Park in 2003 (although those images are nice). It was my favorite Lopez album, 2002′s “This is Me... Then,” the one inspired by her relationship with Affleck.
As someone whose day job as an advice columnist involves reading about a lot of heartache, I do love breakup songs.
Of course, I find it rather callous when music fans celebrate breakups because they know they’ll get a good album. That sentiment was all over Twitter when Adele announced her divorce. People said, “Yes, this means we’re getting some good stuff. ... ‘Rolling in the Deep’-level hits.” They wanted the kind of music you write when you’ve been stepped on and are working through the pain.
Sure, I want another breakup anthem from Adele, but when it comes to music in general, I also want the bliss. I love when an entire album was clearly created during a period of being smitten.
That is “This is Me... Then.” It’s a tribute to being absolutely in love. With Ben Affleck.
The album includes hits such as “Baby, I Love U,” an upbeat ballad that makes me want to dance around the apartment.
Then there’s “Dear Ben,” where Lopez sings, “You’re perfect. I just can’t control myself. ... A manifestation of my dreams. You make my body feel about a million different things.” It makes me wanna yell “Go Sox!” It makes me want romance in my own hometown.
But really, the song I have revisited most over the years – in fact, it has been on my workout playlist for more than a decade – is “I’m Glad,” a sweet tune about a person who simply puts you in a good mood. “I’m glad when you walk you hold my hand. I’m happy that you know how to be a man. I’m glad that you came into my life. I’m so glad.” Imagine being that glad about anything!
The song was accompanied by one of Lopez’s most memorable music videos, a David LaChapelle-directed remake of the film “Flashdance,” with Lopez in that off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, nailing a dance audition.
I went to YouTube to watch it shortly after the Affleck-Lopez news surfaced, and simply enjoyed what it looks like to be happy.
I wasn’t the only one.
“Here because of Bennifer 😭❤️,” one commenter wrote on YouTube this week.
“Now J.Lo can perform this song again =),” said another.
Regardless of what I think of these celebrities or know about their actual lives (almost nothing, I assume), the sound of being smitten – of bliss – is contagious.
If I’m feeling nostalgic for anything, I think it’s that.
Meredith Goldstein writes the advice column Love Letters, for which she is glad. She can be reached at Meredith.Goldstein@Globe.com.