This week I stopped listening to nearly all of my podcasts. For the past three years, I’ve relied on podcasts to provide me with entertainment, thought provoking ideas, information and education.
I would listen during workouts, when driving, when walking the dog in the evening, while doing chores and to pass the time.
They filled a gap in my non-existent social life.
I stopped listening because I am sick of hearing about current events ad naseum. All of these podcasts end up talking about politics, news, the state of the media, social media, government, business I don’t care about, the financial markets, and Covid. Regardless of their focus (comedy, philosophy, history, fitness, food, book releases) nearly all of them eventually get sucked into the vortex of breaking news (and uniformed opinions).
I don’t need to fill my mind with this.
I had a long conversation over dinner last week that was more interesting, challenging and memorable than a year’s worth of podcasts.
I’ve had many conversations with my friend Atif over coffee during the past three years that similarly exceeded listening to any podcast.
Talking to another human face-to-face is so much more rewarding.
Of course, people aren’t available to talk all the time. Nor would I want to – after all, I am an introvert and cherish alone time and silence.
Nonetheless, I deleted most of my podcasts. For the past week, I’ve listened to more music and I’ve spent more time in silence.
It feels like I’ve “dropped out” of society. I don’t know what’s going on in the news. I don’t know what’s up with the latest Omicron numbers. I don’t know where Biden’s Build Back Better bill stands or what senators are blustering about this week. I don’t know who got shot in the bad neighborhood in Raleigh. I haven’t heard any reports of car crashes, wildfires, floods or disappearances.
I don’t know what anyone Tweeted. Or Instagrammed. Or TikTokked.
It’s been really peaceful.
I’ve had time to immerse myself in hours of music by Sheryl Core, Fiona Apple, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Beethoven, Tom Waits, Adele, the Black Keyes, Rage Against The Machine, and dozens of others. I sometimes forget how pleasant it can be to listen to single album from end to end, with no favorites lists, no skipping and no “suggested for you” titles. I find myself singing (off key), dancing (off kilter) and playing air drums (right on the beat).
I’ve had more time to think. I’ve been writing more. I still do the same things I was doing when listening to podcasts, but I’m more focused and savoring everyday experiences more.
I wasn’t expecting all of that. All I was hoping to do was reduce my frustration with hearing about current events. That happened too.
Music and silence. It’s pretty good.