2015: Spending more time in silence
I don’t really like New Year’s resolutions: not a lot changes from Dec. 31 to Jan 1. But every year reading posts and articles about self improvement and what other people do always make me think.
It’s a great time to look back at the previous calendar and think about what has passed and what is to come.
So if I had something to call a “resolution,” it would be to spend more time in silence.
I’ve loved music my entire life. The music of Genesis, The Beatles, U2, Parliament/Funkadelic, MF DOOM, Patti Smith, inspired and made me think.
It’s easier than it has ever been to listen to music you love all of the time. One hundred years ago, you had to go to church, a concert or play an instrument to experience the joy. With records and CDs, you could listen from home. Now with digital files and streaming services like Spotify and Beats, all music is everywhere.
It’s a major part of my life. I listen to music or podcasts on headphones as I walk outside, on one of my four speakers in my apartment, on my computer, iPhone and iPad. Whatever mood I am feeling, I find the fitting soundtrack.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing that gets me pumped up as much as walking to work and deciding which Sparks or Wu Tang Clan song I will listen to. But it keeps up the humdrum of clicking keyboards and blue lights and information coming to our minds.
In 2008, I saw Ralph Nader speak at the University of Michigan while he was running for president. The legendary consumer advocate questioned why young people listen to so much music all of the time. We never had so much noise all of the time, Nader said. Take off the headphones and start thinking.
What he said still resonates with me, and I often think about it. While music has been inspiring and often helped me think, I wonder how much it’s taken away from the wandering mind as I walk down the street or sit in my apartment.
It’s hard to say no to something you love.
I’m not coming up with any rules or restrictions. But I will try in 2015 to spend more time in silence and see where it takes me.