I’ve heard the comments from audio enthusiasts trying to put a positive spin on being Corona-confined: “Stuck inside? Hey, it’s like I’ve been preparing for this all along!”
I know about music’s health benefits. I’ve read those credibly-sourced studies that prove how listening to music can help reduce depression, anxiety, physical pain, and enhance Alzheimer-, dementia-, and stroke-stricken lives. By a growing number of accounts, music is a dopamine-releasing wonder drug.
Which means that as someone who, like many of you reading this, has been feeling a generalized sense of anxiety brought on by the crazy year we’ve just been through, I should be taking in larger doses of music for relief. But that’s not necessarily the case.
What is the case is my listening habits changed along the way. While I used to spend more time listening to music on my main rig downstairs and less on my computer and portable devices, it’s now the other way around. I’m now listening more to my computer and portable devices, less on my main system, and I think I know why. As much as I love sitting on my couch soaking in the cool musical vibes from my hifi, one symptom of this deviant year is that I’m generally antsier as a person than I used to be. I’m finding it harder to sit still, let my mind go, and ease into my music. Hey, the whole world went topsy-turvy, so why not our music habits?
Here’s the thing. Although my listening habits may have changed, I feel closer than ever to my music. It’s just one of those things that happens because of circumstance — I now realize to what extent music transcends the everyday, transcends even the act of listening to it. It exists on another plane, inside of us.
It exists in my past, in all those special moments we shared together. Moments when we were alone or with friends or even strangers. There are too many of them to remember, but their impression on me feels permanent.
It took what’s happening in the world today to drive home how much music to me isn’t just a pastime. It’s more critical than that. It’s in my blood and guts and as essential as oxygen.
Music and me are intertwined, living the same life. I may be, at the time of this writing, listening to music differently than I was, but I still feel excitement at the thought of doing it, of reconnecting with it — on my downstairs system or the computer upstairs. I feel gratitude that something as wonderful and right and rewarding as recorded music exists in the world.
Turns out that listening to music is a perpetual lifeline. All we have to do is think about it and poof! It’s there to make us feel better.
It really is a wonder drug.