I am a music-addict. I can’t function without it. Especially when I am working, running/riding solo, cooking, baking bread, writing, driving, eating, reading, taking a bath…you get the point. I think that my brain waves work best when music is playing; it helps me focus, calms me down, and puts me in a fabulous mood. Music carries so many memories with it, that I am quickly transported back to a time or situation when that particular song or tune was played frequently. Oh, that is another thing I have with music: when I discover some artist or song or genre I really love, I will listen to it incessantly until I have killed it before moving on to the next melodious victim. I am trying to pace myself better when I find music that I really like, but it is a hard habit to break. The positive thing about this habit is that memories get inextricably tied to the tunes. I listen to music that I loved back in college, and it is completely tied to that stage in my life. Pressing or clicking play is akin to reaching into a mental audio memoryfile. I am reminded of ex-boyfriends, my cycling team, dinner parties, and foggy San Luis morning mt. bike rides up Madonna Mountain. The 200 or so songs that were on my Mp3 player this past summer take me back to jogging through cobblestone streets in southern Switzerland or dodging traffic in London. The music that I have been listening to since moving to NC already has feelings associated with it: fall days; the sense of newness out here and anticipated adventures; days spent at the office; first impressions of people; phone calls back home. I think that music right now is even more impressionable because of the novelty of living in a new place; every new discovery or friendship is quickly associated with the song stuck in my head.
My job is particularly endearing because I have the type of job that is conducive to working with headphones connected to an iTunes library. I edit all day, and I can focus much better when my computer is shuffling among the 1200 or so songs on my work computer. Fortunately, I work at the type of place where that is completely acceptable—we even share our music libraries on the office network, which is a great way to discover new music (and learn a thing or two about people I work with). Listening to music and reading all day—I really do have the perfect job.
Sometimes I wonder if I need more silence in my life. Is it a bad thing that I can’t function without music? I mean, is it normal to come home and go straight to my computer (even if I have to pee really bad) to start my iTunes shuffle? Same thing in the car. Ignition goes on, volume or desired track is picked. I have tried to go with silence, but I have found that I feel kind of empty without my music. Music isn’t crowding out my thoughts, because I find that I think clearer when music is playing. So maybe it’s okay.
One of my favorite things in the world, besides frozen yogurt, is riding my mt. bike while listening to my Mp3 player. I enjoy riding with groups, too, but there are those days where I crave a good trail and my headphones. In San Luis, I had some standard climbs that I would frequently do sola, and it was the best possible escape. Something about being out with music, among the trees or rocks, rolling over dirt with a 160 beat heartrate that is completely renewing.
My grandma, for the past few years, has rented a summer cabin in the mountains. One summer, my bike and music got me through a boy-heartache up there. I went out each day, and for three hours or so, found new trails in the fragrant pine trees and thin mountain air until I sweat out the nebulous pain. To this day, I can’t listen to the same playlist without thinking of those rides—but now, I don’t feel that ache; instead, I just remember the pine trees and red dirt trails and that part where I discovered myself feeling stronger and moving on.
Songs and artists are frequently associated with certain people. Perhaps I listened to a particular CD a lot when I was around that person, or sometimes, I discovered that music through a tip from someone. Every time I hear good jazz, I think of my dad and our cabin in Washington. Lately, I’ve been going to this great live-jazz club in town on Wednesday nights just because I have such good memories when I listen to that music. I drink a few glasses of wine, and get into this lovely haze of memories and relaxation. My “mezcla de musica” CD from my buddy Chris reminds me of him and hanging out at Taco Tuesday in San Luis. Jack Johnson reminds me of Santa Barbara and John, because I first heard his music hanging out at John’s house. Some music, unfortunately, has been tainted by bad memories of people or experiences, and I have yet to find a remedy that can take away that association.
But for the most part, music is all wonderful.