I’m not addicted to music… or at least that’s what I thought before I attempted to go 21 days without listening to music. Yes, you read that right. 21 days was the goal. I only made it through 7 of those 21 days before calling it quits.
When people come across the topic of technology addiction, they often think it doesn’t apply to them. As far as they can tell, Facebook is just a really awesome app and that’s the only reason why they feel compelled to check it every single day. Nope, no mind manipulation going on here. That’s what I thought my relationship towards music was like as well. I kept telling myself:
“Oh, I’m just a really creative and musical person. I just naturally need to have music playing whenever I study, commute, eat, sleep, cook, read, shower, exercise, and during any other moment where I’m confronted with silence because I just love it so much! The more you love something, the more you want it right?”
Boy was I wrong.
Here’s what really happened during those 7 days:
- Earworms galore. Music was constantly playing in my head during those 7 days. Later on, I learned that these “music memories” served as a cue to begin my music playing habit. Not being able to satisfy that call to action was incredibly frustrating.
- Lots and lots of it. Nothing to numb me. More frustration.
- Studying felt lonely because I didn’t have my music to keep me company in the silence.
- I couldn’t drain out unwanted noises from my environment without my music. I was forced to grin and bear it.
- Lots of discomfort in general
So, why did I put myself through that? What was the use? Well, I wanted to learn something new about myself. Thankfully, I ended up learning quite a bit:
- Music is a tool I use to escape the present moment. I don’t love music. I just really love escaping.
- Silence is actually kind of nice once you expose yourself to it enough.
- I actually don’t need music as much as I thought I did. Going a day without it is not that big of a deal. In fact, coming back to it after a break makes it much more enjoyable.
- Sometimes it’s nice to actually plan what music I’m going to listen to rather than haphazardly playing tracks fed to me by some algorithm any time I feel a once of discomfort.
My experience goes to show that even if a technology doesn’t appear to have any negative effects on our lives, it can still be beneficial to take a break from it every once in a while. Who knows what you’ll find out? I’m really happy I challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone. I’m now working towards creating a new relationship with music. I’m looking forward to trying this again sometime within the next few weeks.
So, if you aren’t an addict, I challenge you to still try to go without some of your favourite websites, apps, or other technologies for a small duration of time. If a week seems like too much, just try a day and then 2 days and so on and so forth. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.