Thursday, January 2, 2014

Life On Shuffle

Brian's I-Pod and My I-Pod.  Together at last....  Awwww....

If you were to look at the selection of music and books on my I-Pod, you might think a pack of drunken gerbils had gotten together and started programming one night during a wild party. 

It looks like they had a fine time drinking beer and high-fiving each other as they downloaded hits of the 70’s, religious classics, corny country songs, and new age books.   Ever the organizer, I have been careful to craft playlists that group like things together.

Kia (my dog) and I take a walk every morning and most of the time I select one of my playlists or listen to the radio.  The other morning though, my I-Pod got on some weird shuffle thing and I found myself listening to computer-selected bits of the hodge-podge collection.

My first reaction was to switch it off that setting, but my hands were cold and I was in a curious mode, so I just let it go.  For the next hour I listened as songs from my past came on, interspersed with short tracks from books. 

At first it was a little jarring to hear a three minute segment from Joel Osteen reminding me that I am valued child of God, followed by a rockin’ rendition of “It’s Raining Men,” by The Weather Girls.   Then it was on to Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England,” followed by Garrison Keillor musing about the raccoons in Lake Wobegon.  Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty belted out “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.” Then it was time for a little some Bach, followed by a bit of a lecture on images in Poe’s poetry.

Some selections sent me back in time.  Some propelled me forward.  Some made me smile and others made me tear up.  There were some that were more than a little embarrassing and others that completely surprised me.  (The theme song from Xanadu?  Really?)  The range of emotions and movement through time jostled my brain a little.  

Near the end of my walk, I reached into my pocket, turned my I-Pod off and just listened to the sound of my own heart, beating away, healthy and strong, as I walked up to my own front door.

The new thing for me, Betty Control, was that I just let whatever come, come.  I didn’t even try to classify, organize, or categorize.  I just let the next selection play, listened to it, and take me wherever it wanted. 

I am normally a bit believer in resolutions.  I love making that list at the first of the year, so full of hope and possibility.

But maybe that is just a playlist of sorts and maybe this year I need to live my life on shuffle, to experience it all—the trips back in time, the trips forward in time, the fun, the pain, the uncertainty, the surprises—without trying to control them.  

In this next year, experiences will come and experiences will go. My hope is to listen each one with an open mind and let it teach me what I need to learn. 

Above all else, in the midst of the busy year ahead, I must remember to periodically shut everything else out and just listen to the music of my own heartbeat. 

In the end that’s the most important song, and the one that will always lead me back home.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Life on shuffle could lead to quite an adventure!

My Mind's Eye said...

My peeps walk every morning at the local indoor mall. They always enjoy the music playing in the mall...but I know a secret...what they enjoy the most is giving other mall walker names. Here are a few
1.Moving road block (5 women slowly walking abreast taking up the entire aisle)
2. Keisha lady...she walks fast but takes itty bitty steps. She often passes my peeps
3.Big Helen and Little Helen
4. First Sargent very nice man but mom is positive he used to be in the military by the way he walks
5. Mad Hatter (he carries his cap in his hand which swings vigorously
6. Wild arm: only his right arm swings with he walks and it swings so high it appears he is waving.
Hopefully Mad Hatter and Wild Arm
never collide.

Just a few...happy Tuesday.
Madi and mom

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday Betty!
Funny thing about me, when I walk, the last thing I want to do is listen to anything but the sounds around me. Hence no earbuds in these ears ;o)

Olga said...

Beautifully done. have a wonderful 2014.

Slamdunk said...

Though it is not something supported by modern society, there is a lot to be gained from just some silence everyday. Listening to the world and reflecting I think is clearly undervalued.

Leah J. Utas said...

Yep. Take it as it comes and never lose sight of yourself.

Lin said...

Sometimes we just gotta let go and go with the flow--which I think you've done very nicely in the past year or so. :)

And I just read a good thought on another blog friend's blog--don't try to read too much into things and look for meaning. Sometimes it's just good to enjoy too.

I like that thought.

Happy New Year, my friend!

Ms. A said...

I don't have an iPod, but I certainly feel like my life is on some weird, random shuffle. Personally, I think I'd like to have a little more control over what's been playing!

jenny_o said...

Betty, you are clearly not a radio listener ... random is what ya get, round these parts, anyhow! Lovely post.

And ... ipods together at last?
*raises one eyebrow*


Brian said...

That gives a whole new meaning to iHeart Radio! Happy New Year Betty!

Leanne said...

Oh, Betty . . . This made me tear up. I've missed you so, my friend, and your words in this post . . . So touching. I understand so very much what you write, and feel like I've been trying (very poorly, might I add) to pay a certain soundtrack in my life lately. Outside forces ultimately won out, though, and ugly noises often prevail. I'm trying to focus this year, and desperately making my way back to what really matters. Happy New Year, Betty! Much love!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betty - yes Jenny O's comment is one that needs a nudge, or a nod, or an ipod shuffle telling us about 'dem ipods together at last ...

I love having that space to think .. just to let the brain rest .. listening to the wind, the rain .. etc.

Cheers and Happy New Year with all the random things that will be coming along for you to enjoy .. Hilary

My Mind's Eye said...

LOL BB I am glad you liked the names it is a work in progress
I thought of some more nicknames I forgot:

1.Praying mantis: She walks around the mall at a snails pace with her hands folded in front of her
2.Granddaddy long legs: very nice older gentleman with absolutely the longest legs we have ever seen. He is all legs they are at least 5' long.
3. Tissue Magnolia: is the wife of Granddaddy long legs. She is very delicate...and always walks around like she is freezing
4. Quarterback: Bryan says he must have been one in a past life because of the way he walks
5. Hoody: This lady is adorable but I declare she has a hoody in every color of the rainbow and
every style. I suspect she owns Old Navy

As for what we might be called:
Probably Cup of Joe and Cup of Josephine. We have our mug of coffee on our first round.
Hugs C

Gina Gao said...

Happy New Year! I don't like to put my iPod on shuffle, mainly because I always want to know what to expect. That's just me I guess.

Connie said...

My music player has quite an odd mix of songs on it too. Well-written piece!

Mary said...

Really enjoyed this post Betty. Perhaps a little shuffle now and again is good to stop us (me!) from getting stuck in the same old groove :-)

Vodka Logic said...

I love the shuffle on my ipod, but mine is just songs, no books. Interesting twist.
Great post

Gigi said...

I think my life has been on shuffle for a while now. But this post has reminded me that I need to look at as a good thing; rather than freaking out over the loss of control.

Happy New Year, Betty!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Wow, I always run with my workout playlist on shuffle. It keeps going because I want to know what comes next. Have a great year, Betty.

Out on the prairie said...

I enjoy music, but have stayed with hard copy . Haven't tried ipod yet.

Baby Sister said...

I LOVE listening to my iPod on shuffle. It's so liberating and fun. I love seeing what my iPod comes up with next, and it usually fits my mood too, which is nice. I wish you a fabulous year, Betty!!