Up with the Volume, Down with the Noise

Jamie Hughes avatar

by Jamie Hughes |

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music, records

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” That’s not a lesson modern American culture has taken to heart, is it? Seems like we’re more inclined to take Daft Punk’s advice and do everything “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” And that’s all well and good for a season, but a string of too many crazy busy days has a way of grinding you down, especially if you’re living with multiple sclerosis.

I’ve tried several things to make myself slow down, and believe me when I say that’s no small task. I work a full-time job and drive there and back in gnarly Atlanta traffic. I have two kids and a husband to take care of, and I volunteer as often as I can. I also like to take time to write and submit things for publication. I can absolutely run myself ragged if I’m not careful. And like Don Henley says, “You know a starving soul can’t live like that for long.”

If you’ve read this column for any length of time, you know I’m a music aficionado. I’ve played several instruments and was raised in a house that was always filled with my parents’ favorite tunes. So last year, I asked for one thing for Christmas — a record player. My husband kindly obliged and purchased me a turntable, subwoofer, head unit, and a set of solid speakers. We set the whole kit and caboodle up in my library, and I’m loving it!

Listening to records has really compelled me to slow down and take my time with music. No more skipping tracks or listening to things willy-nilly. Nope. I have to take in a record one side at a time. That commitment to at least 20 minutes of music really helps me sit and enjoy. I tend to stay seated in my library more often to listen because I have to be there to turn the record over. (Plus, the sound quality really is better. That’s not just a fib propagated by vinyl heads.) I’ve also decided not to buy any greatest hits albums since that’s not the way the albums were created by the artists. And I don’t skip tracks either. I play the record from beginning to end, one side at a time. It’s really changed the way I appreciate certain bands I’ve always loved!

Even buying records is soothing. No more time in front of a screen clicking “download” for me. Instead, I find a local record store when I have an hour or so to spare, and very slowly I cruise through certain sections, flipping each one with a flick of my finger. I enjoy the feel of the records in my hands, the smell of old cardboard and paper that fills the room, and chatting with fellow fans and shop owners (all of whom have forgotten more about vinyl than I’ll ever know). I may walk out with a single record or none at all, but the experience is never wasted. I give myself permission to linger, and that makes a huge difference in how I feel when I come out. It’s an experience that’s lost in our modern, harried culture, and we’re truly the poorer for it.

If music isn’t your thing, that’s just fine. There are a thousand and one ways to help yourself slip into a lower gear for a few minutes (or hours). Maybe it’s reading or writing. Maybe it’s a craft or hobby. Whatever helps you get your groove on is groovy. Just do it! It’s important for you and your loved ones. You’ll be happier and healthier for it, and that’s a good thing for those of us with MS.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Lynn C Grove avatar

Lynn C Grove

I too am a music lover! I will certainly do this!

Jamie Hughes avatar

Jamie Hughes

Yay! Beware that it's addicting. I've bought more vinyl since Christmas than I ever thought I'd own, and I'm showing no signs of slowing down. Annie Lennox, who I adore, just released her first two solo albums on vinyl this week, and I snagged them both.


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