First off, I just want to start by saying that this is my 101st post on this blog! I know this doesn’t sound like a lot when compared to professional bloggers, but it’s a lot for me. It’s also somewhat of a victory because most of the blogs my friends had back in those days have been inactive for months or years; or they have moved on to something different. In the mean time, I managed to keep this single blog going, while changing it’s “direction and purpose” more than once and I’m glad I did. Sooo, celebration time!! 🙂

About one year ago, I wrote a post describing my history with portable music players as well as my decision to stop using them. I actually followed through with that and here’s what I think now looking back.

So how’s life in the 21st century without cables sticking out of your ears?
Noisy. Very noisy. I think that’s why we isolated ourselves in the first place.

Some things happened the way I had hoped for. It seems to me that my hearing has improved, though it is hard to say for sure that it’s not placebo since I had never measured its level before, nor after and I couldn’t exactly ever hear the grass grow in the first place. But let’s assume it’s true albeit unverifiable.
I also feel that I’m enjoying music somewhat more because it’s not with me 24/7. I can actually appreciate the time taken to just listen to a song or an album.

On the other hand, I haven’t saved the world from its social downward spiral, nor can I say that I have made a lot more friends simply because I didn’t have headphones on, but I wasn’t really hoping that would happen anyway. I can definitely say though that you look at the world a bit differently. I mean that, you really do. You perceive the place where you are in at any given time with all your senses and that’s how we’re meant to perceive the world even though we seem to forget that. Taking the sound out of “the picture” really ruins your perception of the world. But again, it might surprise you just how noisy the world is. I believe that it is partly this audible discomfort that makes the idea of continuous music so attractive. Then again, that’s just pure speculation.

As I said from the start, I do still use my phone as a player on long trips. This summer it was very useful on the long train rides through Europe – especially to cancel out the noise – and it’s always a pleasure to have on transatlantic planes. That being said, I would never go back to using a portable player when exercising, commuting or walking down the street. My concentration while exercising has DEFINITELY improved, that is beyond doubt or debate. Yes, I do get distracted every now and then by random chatter in the gym, or by a Romanian hit on a US radio (really?! Inna? REALLY?!), but overall I do find it a lot easier to get in “the zone” where real training happens.

Bottom line: it was one of the best things I ever did for myself. I strongly recommend trying out at least one week of leaving your iPod at home and see how that feels. You might be pleasantly surprised.
And now that I’ve finished writing this, I’ll go doze off to the sounds of this new Secret Garden CD I got last week. I hear it’s pretty awesome…