Why I Took Out My Earbuds

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For last month, I have stopped wearing my AirPods while walking to and from working with clients.  Actually, the last time I remember wearing them was my trip to Tucson, which was one month ago. Typically, over the past 5 years that I have lived and worked in Philadelphia, I would go back and forth between listening to something and not listening, depending on what I was in the mood for on any particular day.  I would go through phases of listening to music, podcasts, and audio books.  

This was always a huge recommendation by people more successful in business than me, spend your commute time learning.  It makes a lot of sense and is a good use of that time.  Throw on a podcast or a book and learn.  I remember one person specifically recommending that the book be some sort of business or personal growth or skill related content, not something like Harry Potter.  I actually vehemently disagree.  I think there is a ton to learn from books like Harry Potter, so I say read/listen away!  When I read or listen to books that are for entertainment and imagination, I have my intentions set on getting lost in the creativity and I have gained a great deal from doing so.

When I had a heavy rotation of audible books going, I would listen to certain books straight through, and some multiple times, but with others I would have to take breaks.  Some books, I never returned to listening and still haven’t finished.

I used to feel like I had to finish a book, no matter what.  As if I was going to miss out on something special if I hadn’t finished, especially books that were highly touted by many people.    I would suffer through it, probably paying attention to less than half.  I’m sure some people won’t understand this one, but I still have never finished Sapiens, by Yuval Noah Harari. I enjoyed what I had listened to so far, but whenever I was listening to it, over a year ago or so, I just had to stop.  I did the same with several other books too.  I definitely learned from the books, but a lot of books are super repetitive, especially in the spiritual/self help/personal growth sector.  Sometimes it feels like the first chapter is written fourteen times in slightly different ways.  I know repetition is important and necessary, as is hearing things different ways, but sometimes I get something right away and don’t need 500 more examples.  This is why I like to take breaks and return to these books.  One such book recently is, Falling into Grace: Insights on the end of Suffering by Adyashanti.  I have enjoyed the book so far, learned, and grown – but I had to put it down for a while. 

 

Books that I tend to breeze through and love are biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs. Some of the people I have enjoyed listening to/about are Walt Disney, Bob Marley, Eddie Huang, Anthony Bourdain, Steve Jobs, Scott Harrison, Ed Catmul, Phil Knight, Elon Musk, and Blake Mycoskie.  The Walt Disney book is by far the longest of them all, 33hr 20min on Audible, and I’ve listened to it twice fully and returned to several parts multiple times.  It’s about the quality of the story, as Disney knows.  Their stories captivated me.

I love Joe Dispenza’s work. I think he is doing great things and helping a ton of people.  I think his message is great and the info he puts out is helping to change the world by people recognizing their true potential.  I also think his book, You are the Placebo, has great info and you should probably read it if you haven’t (at least some of it). HOWEVER, even though I liked the message, I also found it to be repetitive and a bit boring.  I feel as though these books should be shorter or something. I don’t know. 

At first, I started to use podcasts as my breaks from books.  Then I would get hooked on podcasts and listen to a bunch of the episodes in a row, such as the Rich Roll Podcast, David Chang, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, Deepak Chopra’s Infinite Potential, and How I Built This have been my top listens of all time.  I would listen so much that I had to stop because I would get bored or sick of the host’s voice.

Actually, not only have I not been listening to books or podcasts, but I also haven’t been reading.  The reading stopped with the birth of Weston.  I need to figure out how to prioritize that time again. I needed a break from physically wearing my AirPods and from listening to podcasts and books when I walk around the city…. and I haven’t missed them at all.  I still listen to music when I am home, but haven’t had the desire to start back with podcasts or books.  I’m sure I will feel that desire again at some point.

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Here are the reasons why I stopped wearing my AirPods:

1. My ears need a break.  I can tell.  They just need a break.  The build-up of wax and shit in there just doesn’t seem right.  They just don’t feel right. I always had great hearing and now I feel like it is definitely not as sharp as it once was.  Sure, some of that is age, but I think a lot has to do with loud things shoved in my ears.  Walking around the city, I have to have the volume up quite high most of the time because of construction and traffic.

2. I don’t trust all of these different waves, like Bluetooth, WiFi, cellular, and so on.  We are completely immersed in these waves.  This stuff can’t be great for us and now we are just carrying around devices that are constantly sending and receiving these signals.  They are with us constantly with our phones and wireless devices. 

I saw this post on instagram the other day that says, “Flying above 35,000 ft (many commercial airlines) increases unnatural exposure to high frequency gamma ray radiation that is difficult for our bodies and can be associated with a challenged immune system. The onboard Wi-Fi isn’t good for you either.”  We all know that we are more likely to get sick when we travel, and it fatigues the shit out of us.  Something to possibly take into consideration, at least letting go of WiFi and Bluetooth for periods of time, especially if flying. 

This is why we didn’t get a WiFi enable or video monitor for Weston.  We went with a now old fashion audio only monitor that sends a different frequency.  I don’t know if the frequencies are actually better or not, but not having video is working for us so far.  We also turn off the WiFi on all if our devices at night and put our phones in airplane mode.

3. I stopped wearing my AirPods and listing to things while walking around the city, at home, or wherever because I was actually getting uncomfortable not wearing them.  I felt like I was hiding behind them, like taking the same route walking every day.  It all becomes predictable and comfortable.  I can ignore anyone and it’s a symbol that I don’t particularly want to be bothered.  I needed to feel uncomfortable for short while. I needed to be with myself and with my environment.  I had to get away from the conditioning of other people’s thoughts and lives, no matter how positive or entertaining they may be.

I had to be with myself, with my own thoughts, living my own life.  Recently, it’s all I’ve wanted to do. I don’t even have the desire to listen to or read anything.  I want to create and write. 

Ok, I just finished re-watching Breaking Bad, coincidentally perfect timing for the new Netflix release in a month; and just started The Righteous Gemstones.  And, I have been listening to the new Lana del Rey, Norman F*****g Rockwell a fair amount. But even driving up to Woodstock last weekend, I was happy to sit in silence other than talking with Kait. 

I had to remove those things for a while.  I still have a stupid pull towards my phone and computer, which is a tussle because I want to get things done for the blog and business, but I also want to just enjoy myself in those moments without the bullshit of my iPhone or MacBook.   Spending time with Weston makes this very apparent.  He does very little right now, so it’s very easy to quickly revert to the iPhone, like sitting in a waiting room.  But then, I realize that just having that phone is teaching him that it is extremely important, though it is not.  I also recognize that my full presence of being when I’m with Weston means so much for both of us.  And, I swear that he senses it and gets more fussy when I’m on my phone or computer while hold him (unless he’s sleeping).  Yet, somehow, I still find myself doing it and I have to mindfully stop.

Maybe the pull is primarily financially driven.  Well, less maybe and more definitely.  I often get lost in thinking that freedom of time and devices will come with more financial gains, however I know that is not the case.  Freedom of time and experience comes with freedom from the idea that money actually matters.  Money matters in this thing we humans created, to be able to have a home, travel, feed our family, etc.  Though we don’t necessarily need as much money as we want for these things.  This is a constant internal battle for me and I’m trying to understand what’s best for me and my family’s life.

We have a lot of personal changes happening, aside from being new parents, that are also super time consuming and exciting.  I look forward to sharing all of that in the coming weeks.  Taking it in, getting lost in observing my thoughts, observing my experience.

I’m sure I’ll go back to listening to books, podcasts, and music more often again.  However, I’m thinking of going back to using wired earbuds instead of wireless.

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