This morning, I get to listen to music again.
This is the end of my first experiment in week-long fasting; for the past week, I have not intentionally listened to music in the background. I did play music in class (Tool’s “Die Eier von Satan,” because that was this week– and it was wonderful, as always), and I watched videos that had music and went into stores that had music. A few times my wife turned the radio on in the car — once yesterday specifically when I said that I was looking forward to listening to music again, because that’s what you do for the people you love, you skirt the rules (or just straight break them) in order to make your people happy — but since she is not as attached to music in the car as I am, and she has a lower tolerance for mediocre overplayed pop on the radio than I do (Also a lower tolerance for heavy metal first thing in the morning, and though I can listen to good grungy metal any time, I do have to wonder: who seriously wants to wake up to Korn? Really? Discord and screaming is how you want to start your day?), she is more willing to have the radio off while we drive around, so it has been mostly quiet on the road this week.
I’d love to say that it was a revelation. But I suppose maybe I’m past the age of shocking bursts of self-knowledge; I know myself pretty well at this point. I’ve gone without music before, of course, most simply when my music player was broken or when the batteries died right when I got out the door and down the block. So while it was a longer time without music, and more frequent moments during the day when I had to think about playing music and tell myself not to, there weren’t any new experiences.
I did have more thinking time while I was walking my dogs, and I think that was probably positive. I think my walks may become more meditative, more present, less about distracting myself. It’s probably better that way, anyway: I’ll pay more attention to my dogs and what they’re doing, so my big doofus of a Boxer won’t go sniffing after a GODDAMN RATTLESNAKE like she did today. (99% chance it was dead, because it didn’t react to her. But I didn’t realize what she was sniffing at until she’d already gotten within what would have been striking range if the thing felt like striking, and it was a big fucking snake. So now I think I need to be better about keeping this glorious idiot out of the bushes.) But the other times when I usually listen to music: when I first get to work, while driving, and for the hour or so that I have my birb out of his cage in the evenings, going without music just made the time quieter and more melancholy. I think it has made my mood a little bit worse for this past week, and I don’t really see any benefits.
However: I did go for the whole week without breaking my fast. I’m pleased with that. A week was long enough to give me a pretty good sense of what the thing I was going without meant to me, what part it played in my daily routine. I didn’t learn about myself so much, but I did solidify my opinion about one of my unconscious habits; so now I think it will become — has become — more of a conscious habit, and I like that a lot.
Therefore, I’m going to keep doing this.
This week I will be giving up video games. Again, they’re not a large part of my day, but I play a round of Candy Crush pretty regularly, during breakfast, while I have the birb out; and I play Solitaire on my phone and have gone through various farming/sim type games over the years, several of which have taken up time in idle moments, and sometimes they have crept into other moments, and have tempted me away from things I should be doing so that I can accomplish a goal or win an achievement. I just played a round of Candy Crush, wasted ten minutes, won nothing, felt frustrated. So I want to see if the loss of the frustration is worth the loss of the entertainment and the rush of victory — tiny victories, but victories easily won, so generally positive for my mood but negative for my time management.
At least I can listen to music again.