I believe in taking the headphones off. Instead of listening to the whiney voices of a new pop band or singer, why not just listen to what is happening all around you? Personally, I have yet to hear the sounds of my everyday life in a song. With the noises of different bands blasting in my ears every day I did not focus in on the things that mattered. How could I spot a bird in the sky, hear my brother practice for his play, or listen to my dad lecture me on life with my headphones on? With a club beat or a drum solo ringing in my brain, all I could do was nod and pretend I cared.
When my headphones go on it’s like entering a new world. Music becomes the main priority and the rest of what I see or hear is history. My vision blurs and voices of people talking are lost in the bass beat of the current song. I breath music, talk about music and constantly listen to music whether its in the shower, in the car, at school or while doing my homework. When the headphones go on, they stay on as if someone super-glued them to my ears.
My mom once told me, “Why not take those things off and listen to the music around you?” The sad reality of that question was I did not hear any music aside from what was playing in my ears. The sounds of nature? Psh…I bet a bubbling brook doesn’t sounds as good as the new Jonas Brothers album but then again I really didn’t know what rushing water sounded like. Then came a point in my life in which the unthinkable happened. I lost my precious I-pod. My music was gone and with it, a bit of my soul.
For a total of ten days I was completely music-less and in those ten days I became a better listener. It was a revelation. Where had I been for the past three years? My brother was all of a sudden listening to rap music, my dad was talking about writing a book and my mom had morphed into a birdwatcher. I listened to all of the sounds of my house; the creaks of my stairs became a symphony, the rain on the roof became the bass beat and the birds in the morning became the lead singers. I asked myself, “What songs in my music library sound as sweet and relaxing as the ones made by nature?” but I already knew the answer. None were. You can’t make a club beat into a rainstorm and you certainly cannot make Joe Jonas into a singing sparrow. I had finally discovered the music around me.
Of course, when my I-pod was finally found, the beats and the guitar rifts returned but the songs created in my own home never left me. Time with my family is now spent as an active member and the birds get to practice their singing to me every morning. Life suddenly becomes worthwhile and meaningful when you take the headphones out and listen. This, I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.