Not really worrying about anything in particular. Not really anxious in the lead up to something, just feeling a little unsettled – like there’s something we should be doing. Like there’s something out of place or missing from our lives. These are feelings that come in waves, and the frequency of their arrival seems to grow and grow the older we get.
When we’re children, we don’t worry about the world. We don’t worry or even think too much about who we are or what we’re meant to do. Everything is in place for us, if we’re lucky. We feel safe, secure, comforted by the fact that our world is run and ruled and kept joyful and effective by those who surround us, those who are older and wiser than us. Existence is just pure freedom when you’re a happy, cared for and loved young person. Then as we grow, it’s not always that the love decreases, far from it in many cases. We just start to realise that those people who we thought had control of everything, who we thought had all the answers and always knew what was right for us – those people are just people too, like us. They were children once. And no matter how much you learn or experience, there really is no end point, no executive, high-held position at which you’ve got it all covered. We continue to wonder, perhaps more and more, as the world goes around and around.
Rather than veer off too intensely in some philosophical, limitless direction, I want to bring it back to the point. There are certain things that we use, as adult humans in the world, to calm or even cure these feelings of uneasiness. Our varying sources of escapism mean everything to us. These things we focus on, or that we can drape over ourselves like a blanket of comfort, like a sheet we can hide beneath as the sand-storm crashes over our heads. They don’t stop the storm, but they keep the sand away from our skin. They give us the illusion of safety, of isolation, of smallness. The older we get, the bigger the world gets – it never stops; there’s no outer limit, and that’s a scary thing. It’s like staring over the edge of a cliff and not being able to see the bottom. Worse, even. The smaller we can make our world; the more comfortable we feel within it.
So we have our circles. We have our people we cherish. Then we have our likes; our clothes, our places, our films, our shows, our games, and our music. The latter of which we seem to find new ways of including in our lives every single day. We have access to it every second – on our phones, on our laptops, in our cars, in our pubs and cafes and otherwise communal venues. Even if nothing is ready or the power is out, we can burst into our favourite song without any preparation at all. We can thrash out a drum pattern on our desks or our laps. We can pretend to beat-box, anything – anything to fill those quiet moments when reality comes soaring into view.
It’s not that we’re afraid of it all. Reality is exciting, it’s loaded with opportunity, and it’s the thing that so many of us fight for and work hard to set up as the sort that we dream about. But it’s vast and unpredictable, and that comes with an edge. Sometimes the things that are worth the most are the hardest to make ourselves do. So we listen to music. And we make music. We make all kinds of music. We don’t even care about genre anymore. We fuse rock with rap, we bridge EDM gaps with cellos, we introduce tribal beats and rhythms with romantic, choir-like vocal melodies. We create all kinds of audio experiences. And for many of us, making the music has become far more of an intense and captivating experience than listening to it.
The relief and elation you feel when something you once merely mumbled to yourself on the drive home from work, suddenly reveals itself through your speakers, surrounded by instrumentation, soaked in the soul-quenching, satisfying hit of a finished soundscape – it’s an incredible rush. And then we think about it, and we listen again, and again, and then maybe we share it with someone, and then maybe we post it online. Maybe we pay to promote it a little. Maybe we perform it live, if that feels like the right thing to do. And then some time passes. And then there’s this gaping void. And then we’re on to the next project.
Music is such a fucking magical part of life. It transcends all labels and backgrounds. It doesn’t give a shit about what we look like or where we’re from or what our pasts look like. It hits us like a third shot of whiskey. And it’s out of our hands. The feeling comes from somewhere deep inside, or perhaps it’s somewhere outside of us – some incomprehensible other plain. We can go from feeling completely alone to feeling like some random stranger on the other side of the world suddenly completely understands us. Because they wrote this piece of music, this song, and we heard it, and it felt like an old friend had finally come home.
Music brings us together in a way that no other medium really can. When the music is loud, there’s nothing left to do but dance. And when you dance, you feel amazing, and you’re sharing that moment with everyone. Music triggers memories; those that mean the most to us, and those that hurt. It reminds us where we came from, and it promises us that there’s more – that things will get better, that the world is an ocean of opportunity and possibility. We can hear it, and we can feel it – the bass, the synths, the emotion, the soul, the sincerity, the stories, the realness, the humanity. Nothing compares to it. Everyday I’m grateful for the music the world creates.
Everybody has something special to give to everybody else. Whatever you may think about your own abilities or your own place or role within society – time spent making music is never a waste. There are so many of us. Everyone feels the tension, the struggle, the anxiety, at some time or other in their lives. We need to keep bridging those gaps and finding those sounds and expressing those stories. We need to keep connecting with each other. We make our worlds smaller, more comfortable, by reaching out, and by listening – not being afraid of distance, but attempting to understand it. It feels much better when we do that. It feels more manageable, more meaningful, more exciting.
Stay creative. Whatever the weather.
Photos from Pexels.