At Some Point, I Stopped Listening

If we think back, we can all remember when we shelved various creative pursuits.  You used to draw in school, then one day that was put aside for math and science and the “useful” things.  Most people kept a diary or journal at some point in their youth (I’m talking about pre-blogging days) and then just let it lapse.

Music lasts longer though….we seem to be “into” music when we’ve already moved on from other outlets.  But as our 20’s turn into our 30’s and beyond music stops being something that we identify and define ourselves with and just turns into something we keep around as background noise.

And I don’t mean just “Top 40” or popular, youth-oriented and marketed music.  I look at my dusty stack of CD’s (and vinyl previous to that) which I intend to burn to mp3 but haven’t yet.  I don’t explore new genres or make a point of actually going out to listen to live music anymore.

I love music – I played music through my college years.  My Ipod Shuffle allows me to carry hours of my favorite songs in a device the size of a postage stamp.  It’s never been easier to indulge yourself sound-wise.

Yet when I look at most people my age, and even a decade younger, I don’t really see them taking the time to listen to anything anymore.  Sure, they might have earplugs in while at the gym or jogging.  But I can’t imagine them taking the time at home to really listen to music, like they would to watch TV or whatever else they do to “entertain” themselves.

I think it’s another symptom of how at some point we stop living our lives and just begin maintaining them.  We don’t have the time, we tell ourselves.  Gotta make a buck, gotta do this and that and when that’s done we’ll have time to live.

But I know one place where I see a lot of people listening to music  I also see them reading, and even keeping pictures around of family, pets and friends to look at and smile at.

Where is this magic place, where people seem to regain their appreciation of the things that make life worth living?

It’s the chemotherapy lab at the local oncology clinic.  People return to what gives them strength when life makes you stop your busywork and pay attention.

I don’t think you’ll see anyone reading the Wall Street Journal there.

(This post is dedicated to my e-buddy Fred Reiss, of the blog “”. For some reason, WordPress won’t let me add the link directly today.
Anyway, Fred is coming back out into the light, and is writing about the experience. My own experience with close family members and cancer makes me appreciate Fred and his viewpoint. Plus he’ll make you laugh.)


2 thoughts on “At Some Point, I Stopped Listening

  1. You might be right about average folks losing their passion for music as they get older. People around here are firmly stuck in the ’60s and think anything new is worthless. But not in my house! We live for it. We seek out new music and continue to listen to ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s music. We watch music videos on YouTube. We love the obscure stuff as well as mainstream. If a customer has satellite TV and they’re not home (our favorite customers) man we crank up Guns ‘n Roses era rock or alt rock from the ’90s. TV is hell in a box. No really. In my idea of hell, the TV would be on all the time.

    What is some of your favorite music?

    • I like the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, some classical and instrumental surf music from the 60’s up till today. Lately 80’s music has been a favorite because it brings back happy memories. It’s funny how you can hear a song and it automatically transports you back to a specific time and place. I’m open to most anything except manufactured stars from reality TV and bluegrass!

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