I’m going to state this right upfront; get it over with; air my thoughts before we delve into this subject deeply: I don’t understand how people get through life without music. A life void of melody is unfathomable to me.
My parents listened to music every day and I’m told when I was strong enough to stand, I was holding onto the crib rail and bobbing to Cal Smith singing on the old black and white television. The radio in the kitchen was on every day without fail. If it broke, as tight as money was, a new one appeared without delay. The radio in the truck was always tuned to music; no talk shows for us. When my dad installed an 8-track player in the truck, that played more than the radio.
We had a floor model stereo with a radio and record player, which could easily be moved to the deck or the lawn. That thing is more than 40 years old and still going.
As soon as I was old enough, I got my own radio, then a Walkman and a record player (the suitcase kind, red on the bottom, white on top). In the 80s, I bought my first CD player. It survived until my rambunctious son knocked it to the floor … twice … around 2005.
There are few things I value when it comes to stuff. My music collection is in the top five. Actually, it’s third, right behind my books and family photos. However, some days, it’s number one. I saved all my LPs, 45s, 8-tracks (including that player for the truck), cassettes and CDs. If I had to guess, I’m thinking I have over 1,500 items. I’ve never counted. It might scare me. I add to that collection every month with a new CD.
A word about digital music: it’s temporary, and I’ll never buy it. I can pull an Elvis album, Bryan Adams cassette or Alan Jackson’s first CD from my collection and play it just like the day I bought it. I doubt that will be possible in 40 years for those who bought iTunes music.
Just like in my childhood, music is on in my house every day. It’s in my truck and because all my family grew up this way, everyone I travel with also plays music when they drive. I met only one person who didn’t and when I asked him, he said he normally did, but he listened to classical and he figured I wouldn’t want to. I told him to play it. I like classical. I love almost all music.
If I didn’t have music, I probably would have died in my late teens. I won’t go into the details, but wanting to hear the next song on the CD kept me between the ditches, literally. Music gave me strength when I felt like I had none. It kept me company on many lonely nights. It gave me hope when I stumbled. It gave me courage when I was scared. It touched my heart and made me believe in myself and many other wonderful things.
Unlike other enables (drugs, alcohol), music doesn’t harm the body. It’s also cheaper and keeps giving years after the purchase. And it’s legal. I can listen and drive.
The past five months would have been worse without music. Just like many times in my life, songs I needed to hear found me. In fact, an entire album found me; I must have been desperate. While I’ve always enjoyed Dierks Bentley’s music, I hadn’t given him my full attention. It got it with The Mountain album. Several of those songs resonated with me over the past two months as I dragged myself from a rough patch, searching for light. [Links are to the song on YouTube.]
Burning Man – Yeah, burning woman. I could go either way.
Travelin’ Light – It’s about letting go of the baggage, all the mistakes and regret.
You Can’t Bring Me Down – Nope, you can’t. Regardless of what you do or say, I’m on another level, and that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling; Dierks put into music. Finding forgiveness is undeniably awesome.
Living – Most days we ain’t. Now, every day I do and if I doubt, I listen to this song.
The Mountain – That’s what I’m climbing; I need only put one foot in front of the other a few million times. It’s easy. Just don’t stop.
Son of the Sun – That’s always been me, but I’ve denied myself the outdoors. Not anymore.
How I’m Going Out – Leaving one stage of life for another. I’ve been thinking hard about this and how I’ll go out.
Woman, Amen – Fuck, yes. I won’t enter into another relationship unless both of us shout this at the top of our lungs at each other after climbing a mountain and mean it; I might be saying woman to keep with the song, but I’ll be thinking man.
My Religion – Exactly. There will be no other way, and I’m not religious.
These songs carried me to the next level of living. If music is your enabler, check them out on YouTube. That’s where I found them (the ones not out on radio), and then I went to the record store (yes, they still exist) and bought the album.
Whatever type of music you listen to, find what resonates with you, picks you up and keeps you moving forward. Play it often, over and over again if necessary. The message will eventually get to the control centre in your brain and override negative thoughts.
Music is my drug of choice. It makes me high, energizes me, puts me in a state of pure bliss, removes me from the present and makes me take chances. I will never live without it.
Yes, I do write with music in the background. It sets the mood for scenes and sometimes inspires one. And when I need an energy break, I pick up the ten-pound weight and do a three-minute workout to a fast song. Then I’m back into my seat, energized and writing.
To ensure I don’t forget the songs and quotes that have empowered me over the course of the past few months (in case I stumble into an abyss), I’ve created a booklet to hold them. It’s for my personal use, not to be shared with others due to copyright issues. It will contain this and the four previous blog posts, my quotes, Robert Downey Jr.’s quotes and words to the above songs. There will be only one quote per page and a few blank pages, so I can write notes and additional quotes as they come to me. Years from now, I hope to look back at this time and remind myself of how far I’ve come.
I don’t know where I’ll go in life, and I don’t spend time thinking about it because my future is wide open. Not thinking about it turns me on, makes me vibrate with excitement. Who knew not planning was so invigorating? I love this feeling; it’s addictive.
I do know one thing though: my music goes with me.
[Musical images from Pixabay]