I’m on year two of my One Line a Day journal, so for the past two and a half months, I’ve received a daily reminder of what I was doing and thinking on that day a year ago. My March 21, 2016 entry mentioned exchanging favorite Dolly Parton songs with a couple of friends (we were planning a trip to Dollywood) and closed with this line:
“I think listening to music makes me more thoughtful – I should do it more often.”
The name “One Line a Day” is a bit of a misnomer, as the book includes six blank lines for each entry, which is enough for about three short sentences. I write in my journal every night before bed. It only takes about one minute and encourages me to reflect on my day. Sometimes I just write a list of the things I did that day, but sometimes my entries include snapshots of my mental state, like this one.
Until my late twenties, I listened to music all the time. I played the same CDs and artists on repeat, dissecting their songs and revering the lyrics as poetry. I sang in the car and in the shower. As a teenager, I made mix CDs for my friends and sent song lyrics to my boyfriend. Though I wasn’t a musician myself, my life seemed to have a soundtrack.
Somewhere along the line, that changed. The music emanating from my car’s speakers was replaced with public radio. I now workout to podcasts and listen to audiobooks as I do chores. These forms of content add value to my life, but maybe it’s time to make room for music again. Singing along with my favorite songs not only boosts my mood, it also puts me in touch with my feelings and might even render me more empathetic. It energizes me and leads to sparks of creativity.
It turns out that the effects of listening to music have been studied, and research has confirmed that music benefits our physical and mental health in surprising ways. Who would have thought that playing some tunes could help you eat less or improve your blood vessel function? Amazing.
As I make my way to work this morning, I think I’ll turn off the news and play one of those old CDs.