Welcome to another Wednesday here at the Take It or Leave It challenge! After last week's extra podcast listening, I decided to flip the script this week and give my ears a rest. I'm a big fan of background music and almost always have it playing at home, at work, and in my car. I like many different musical genres, so it often doesn't matter what makes up the soundtrack of my day. But there's always something.
Until I turned it all off.
On the drive to work that first morning, which takes a whole twelve minutes, I feared I had made a terrible mistake. Without public radio, I had nothing to distract me from the annoying rattle coming from somewhere in my car. One of the first things I do when I get to my desk is choose the music I will stream for the day. Instead, I gritted my teeth at the sound of the fluorescent lights buzzing overhead. Were they always that loud, or had I spontaneously developed some kind of Jaime Sommers bionic woman hearing?
At home, things were no easier. Cooking and eating without jazz music in the background is a lot less fun. And I don't know if this is weird, but I always wake up with a song in my head. Sometimes, it's a song I like. Sometimes, it's Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". There's no rhyme or reason to it. Without a new song to take its place, I was stuck with the bad song earworm for much longer than I wanted.
That's how most of the week went: me being hyper-aware of sounds I usually don't even acknowledge. And I also found out that there is such as thing as having too much time alone with one's thoughts. Well, maybe not for Bill Gates. But definitely for me. I confess that I had many moments where I almost lost my resolve and turned on some damn music already.
But I made it through seven full days of radio silence. Surprisingly, things got easier by the end, and I actually began to appreciate (some of) my silent moments. And various studies suggest that silence lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity, promotes brain cell growth in the hippocampus, regulates hormones, prevents arterial plaque formation, and decreases stress (even more than listening to music!).
Well, that's some food for thought. I know this week can't possibly be a Take It, because listening to music makes me happy. But I will make a point to be more mindful of silence and fit it into my day on a regular basis.
And now, for some throwback weirdness, here's Thomas Dolby's "Radio Silence". So very 1982.