Monday, June 25, 2018

Silencing the (Musical) Noise in My Life

For months, I've been working on a little project called "Mission: Delete Spotify and Other Music Streaming Services." Rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?  lol.

Music and the lack of silence in my life have been some of my biggest stumbling blocks. Not that there's anything wrong with music. I love music. St. Cecilia seems to have chosen me as a confirmation patroness. I sang in the school choir growing up. I learned to play a bit of piano before I entered junior high. I moved onto the acoustic guitar in my teens. Music has always been one of the biggest parts of my life.

Music was what kept me sane after my father's death. In fact, I got home from the hospital where he passed (and where I was born) and I immediately turned on my music. It's my metaphorical comfort blanket. I almost always had it on... until recently.

When I took my social media break last week, I also took a break from TV, movies, and other streaming services. I embraced silence... and it was uncomfortable at first. I had made strides in this area during Lent but I took several steps back since then.

I don't do well with silence. I've never been comfortable with it. Lent is hard for me because of the silence I choose to adhere to during it; at least during Holy Week. I know it's because I overthink and overanalyze things; my brain is always processing something. But that's where the problem lies; I have way too much going on in my mind all the time.

After the week of (mostly) silence, it all changed. Suddenly, I could focus on things more clearly (despite the mental/brain fog). I was able to sleep better. I was calmer. My stress levels were down.

As an experiment, I reverted to my former habits and saw that I no longer like them. In fact, it made me feel worse! The cult of busyness and the pointless noise has overwhelmed me again, just 3 days into my experiment. I haven't been able to sleep as well. I'm more anxious. I can't concentrate. Because of this, I decided to go back to embracing the silence... and cutting out the excess noise.

Spotify and other streaming service add to that pointless noise I want to avoid.

I'll be the first to admit that I like songs without listening closely to the lyrics. Why? Because I usually have it on in the background and only pay attention to the melody. Then I get scandalized by the lyrics when I do listen to the lyrics. That's why I decided to uninstall Spotify from my laptop.

I have more specific reasons for this choice of course. Those reasons are:

  • It encouraged idleness/laziness when I had the energy to do something else. Instead of dancing around like a loon when I had the energy, I could've done something that would've saved me the trouble when I have a chronic fatigue flare up and can barely function.
  • Those terrible ads. Political ads were the only things I heard during the CA primaries earlier this month. I don't know how many times I rolled my eyes at Dianne "The dogma lives loudly in you" Feinstein trying to get me to vote for her. I didn't FYI. Also, really? Condom commercials when I clearly don't (intentionally) listen to overly scandalous music? Barf!
  • I want to be more careful about what I listen to. Once I get the lyrics in my head (or the double meanings), I can't go back. I end up having to bring it up in the confessional. Pass.
  • To kick both FOMO and pointless noise out of my life.

I added tons of albums and songs to my iTunes wish list. I won't get them all but if I ever have a little bit to spare and treat myself, I'll be getting a couple of songs or an album every couple of months. I also want to make sure I don't use it as an excuse to spend more money; I'll just add a little bit when I want something new to listen to.

This is my game plan. I've already done a lot of music purges over the years (which you can read about here, here, and here) but this is just a new one. Streaming music services are now a thing (paid downloads are down; radio is basically obsolete) so I had to put restrictions that work for me.

Of course, I still have KUSC to listen to on the radio in the car (I only have a radio; no cassette, CD, or mp3 ports in my 1998 Honda Civic), on the app, and online. It's all classical music and the ads aren't morally problematic so I always have that as an option as well.

Had anyone done anything like this? If so, how has it worked out for you?

I'm sharing this because I want to be held accountable for what I listen to. I want to be more conscious about what I consume, especially when it comes to entertainment and publicly calling myself out will help me stick to it.

Anyway, that's it for now. I want to take a breather from being online for hours today (it took me a while to transfer songs lists; add to iTunes).

I hope you all had a lovely weekend and have a great week!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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