Read the original post on Camping Minotaur.
Last week was weird for me. I live most of my life in a kind frenetic state—I am always thinking of the next few things I’m going to do, how they are all going to fit together, how much time each of them will take, and most of my days are cut into chunks like that.
Last week, my husband came into my office before leaving for work, took a record from my collection, put it on my turntable, turned on the music, and left. I didn’t particularly like the record—an old one from my mum’s collection—but the record spun for a bit, cutting to that weird fuzzy click-click-click on the inside label before I got up, and debated what to do. “Well, I’ll flip it over I guess.” And so I did. And, from there, I kept on doing it, one record after another until the end of the week.
That’s right, I listened to only analog music for the whole week. No Spotify, Rdio, iTunes or whatever else there is out there. Even better: I didn’t pick which record to listen to next. I would just snag whichever one my fingers fell to, and put it on the table.
In the world of control, and scheduling, and super-quick-movement that I inhabit, taking these few extra seconds to get up from my desk, select a random record which could vary in anything from Leftover Crack to Peter, Paul and Mary, then listen to it was refreshing. Losing that control took a bit of time for me to get used to, but was eventually nice: it was nice to have to plan and think about one less thing and just let it happen.
Cooler still: on the days that I listened to vinyl, I got about 1000 extra steps in my day. Getting up every 20 minutes or so to flip the vinyl, walk to my collection, grab a new one and walk back to my player did that much for my activity levels, which is just nuts. It also encouraged me to do things like stretch, and get myself more water to drink.
So, what’s the point, you’re probably thinking. So you listen to vinyl, so does everybody now, NBD. I’m not saying that everyone should listen to vinyl or even that music is what will make the real difference in your life, but find something that you normally control and do digitally, and find a way to leave it up to chance. Maybe, one night, instead of pre-planning what you’re going to cook for dinner, flip to a random page in your cookbook, go to the grocery store for whatever ingredients you don’t have already, and make it. Stirring up your regular workflow and plans can be amazing for your outlook on life; it forces you to actually engage with things, rather than just letting them passively happen to you.
For me, it made me think about what actually is important and how much effort I spend paying attention to and dwelling on things throughout the day that really just aren’t important. Instead of getting bummed that I can’t find one random Social Distortion album on any of my internet music tools, maybe I should instead just be grateful that I’m able to hear at all. Taking the extra moments to think about things like this will make you a much better person, and your life much more meaningful, even just in little moments like your husband choosing a record that you don’t feel like listening to and being too lazy to get up to switch it.