Do you ever have those days when you feel stuck and even though you know exactly what you need to do to get unstuck, you still do nothing?
And what you need to do could be incredibly simple. It could be as simple as watching your favoutite Key and Peele sketch on youtube, listening to your favourite pick me up song or maybe a breathwork mediation.
You might feel like doing something simple won’t help or maybe you feel like you don’t have the time. But it’s important to make the time because the feeling of being stuck won’t go away unless you do something about it.
Around 18 months ago I created a Pick me up playlist.
The reason I did this is in the name, I wanted a pick me up. But more importantly I wanted something I could go back to.
I’m lucky enough to know how the music I listen to makes me feel and, I curated a playlist of songs to listen to when I am in need of a pick me up.
It is simple yet incredibly effective.
And of course the music doesn’t fix the issue but it reminds me what it is like to feel good and that makes me want to make the effort to make things better.
If you’re someone that enjoys listening to music, I’d advise you to give it a go.
You don’t even need to create a whole playlist but the next time you feel down just listen to one of your favourite songs and see how it makes you feel.
You might be under the impression that the media you consume has no influence over you.
But one day you might find yourself saying, doing or buying something that doesn’t quite feel like you.
For example, on a podcast a woman spoke about how she noticed that when watching a particular reality tv show she was more argumentative.
I think it’s impossible to not be influenced whatsoever and it’s important to be aware of how you’re influenced by the things you consume.
Some examples of the things we consume are: YouTube, blogs, TV, music and social media.
Consumption of those things can influence your career choice, how you spend your money, what you value, your self esteem, how you communicate, the way you view life and so on.
I can openly admit that I’m aware of how I’m influenced by things. An easy example is music because I have playlists for when I’m feeling blue and for when I need a pick me up.
Something I unconsciously started doing from a young age is thinking about the way I want to feel or the kind of person I want to be and consuming things that align with that.
If that’s not something you already do, I think it’s worth a try.
Around 8 months ago I went to see one of my favourite singers in a city a couple hours north from where I live.
I booked my ticket 6 months in advance because I didn’t want to miss out and knew the opportunity may not come around for a while.
But I also didn’t have anyone to go with which was caused some initial hesitation.
In the end, I went alone had a great time and bought a t-shirt from the merch stand.
Looking back it really was an act of spontaneity (albeit a pretty small-scale act one all the same).
I’m glad I didn’t get stuck overthinking, I’m glad I didn’t miss out and I’m glad I went alone.
There’s often a lot of judgement (both internally and externally) when it comes to doing things alone but when the alternative is missing out, ask yourself ‘Are those voices worth listening to?’.
Like books, podcasts, talks etc
If someone asks for a recommendation when your interests aren’t mainstream, it’s easy to hold back. It’s easy to be reluctant to share that local band who are heavily influenced by 80s synth pop.
You might skip over that book you read a while back by a neurologist purely out of curiosity.
That podcast with a spiritual/holistic focus won’t even get a mention.
But I think those things are worth passing on. If you were lucky enough to find something you enjoy that people you’re around might not be aware of, why not tell them about it?
It’s easy to be put off by the thought of blank or uninterested faces.
But at least you were willing to share something about yourself.
Plus, you might even find someone else who is interested in the same things as you.
You can always go back.
One of the things that I don’t think is often considered is that when you leave your comfort zone you can always go back if things don’t work out.
For example if you make music and usually just keep it to yourself, try putting it out there for people to hear. Sure you might be nervous and it’ll take a bit of courage but if it doesn’t go well you haven’t lost out on anything.
And if you lose that feeling of courage you can always go back to keeping your stuff to yourself again, you can always go back to your comfort zone.
However, on the flip-side you can keep trying because good things take time and it’s like Ziglar once said ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you can learn to do it well‘.
You like that song by that band you randomly came across on Spotify. They happen to be from the same city as your favorite Brit Pop band .
You follow the band on twitter, you tweet them about how much you love their music. You make your way through all their songs over and over again.
You know most of the words now.
You see that they have a show in your city and you squeal with excitement. You’ve been into this band for almost 6 months and getting to see them live is what you’ve been waiting for.
The cost of the gig is like £8, so cheap you book your ticket the day they go on sale.
The night has finally arrived and you’re at home pulling out the contents of your wardrobe. You need something that says, ‘I think you guys are so great and I love your music’ but at the same time is subtle and sophisticated.
You spend a few hours in a dimmed basement room with a drink in hand shouting along as the band performs their set. You manage to get front and centre, how else could you express to the band how much of a fan you are?
You jump, sing and shimmy the night away until suddenly they’ve reached their last song. The crowd is going wild, you’re glad to be apart of it. So carried away by the music that you become one of those people that clambers onto the stage. Theirs about 15 of you up their happy and smiling, there’s no doubt that this music means something to you.
And then the final song is over.
You’re buzzing full of energy and you’re sweaty but you don’t care.
You can’t wait to do it all again.
One afternoon I decided that instead of going to lunch at the usual place with the usual people, I would have alphabet soup.
This means nothing more than I sat alone with my headphones in listening to music ranging from The Preatures to Chance the Rapper and The Stone Roses to Amine.
I was sat writing for less than an hour but managed over 1000 words. Despite the fact that I skipped lunch at the end I still felt pretty satisfied.
Music has played a significant part in my life from a young age. 90s and early 00s music brings back memories of childhood, growing up and my sisters.
But it’s only in the past couple of years that I’ve started listening to albums from beginning to end. Nothing compares to falling in love with an album that you can play without skipping a track. I think it’s quite amazing the way that songs can tell stories. The way it feels to hear the opening track and the way the closing track is sometimes upbeat but sometimes soft and slow.
I wanted to share a few albums that I happily listen to from beginning to end, feel free to share the albums you like in the comments.
Girlhood – The Preatures
Up for the downstroke – Parliament
Heard you missed me, well I’m back – sly and the family stone
Care for me – Saba
an XTRA UUGLY Mixtape – Duckwrth
America eats it’s young – Funkadelic
Dirty Computer – Janelle Monáe
Isolation – kali uchis
In a million years – Last dinosaurs
There I stood on a Monday night in a room full of strangers, in a city that was slowly becoming more and more familiar.
I was there to do something I never thought I’d get to do. I never thought there was a chance that my favourite singer from New Zealand who now lives in New York would ever come to England.
But she did and so the day the tickets went on sale I bought one.
That was over 6 months ago.
And on Monday night I finally got to see her live.
Her voice was beautiful, she was beautiful and it felt special being there as she performed songs about love, war and death.
The same songs that I had listened to on buses, trains and walks.
The songs that picked me up and songs that I sat with when I felt down and needed comfort.
Her show ended with an old favourite and the crowd clapped and sang along.
I left full of gratitude for the art that was shared that night and that good feeling that comes from hearing the songs you love.