Repeat

October 10, 2012

I love falling in love with a single song. Something that I can loop over and over and over. These songs are rare, of course. They probably come along once every month or so. But when they do, it's a good day. When I have one song that I can play repeatedly, it makes whatever I'm doing at the same time, probably work, easier. It's because then I stop thinking about what song to play next, or which album to load up. And each time the song restarts, I get that feeling of anticipation that a great song is about to play.

It almost never lasts more than a day though. And in some cases, I hardly listen to the song again. So when this happened to me again last week, I tried to figure out what was happening.

What's the equivalent of doing this with something other than a song? Maybe watching the same movie over and over, or reading the same book, or eating the same food every day. Wearing the same shirt, although that one will probably get you the most looks. It doesn't happen with any of these.

Is there something special about music? Well, I guess it doesn't demand your full attention, not like reading or watching a movie. And a song is usually four to five minutes, instead of two hours, or a couple days to consume a book, so your high is in short bursts instead of long, drawn out periods that are probably more exhausting (ie. you need to take breaks).

If there is one of these kinds of things you love, it has a default level of something that represents how much energy you have to keep listening or reading or watching it. And the way to deplete this energy is to give it your attention and time.

I can't read a long book in one sitting no matter how much I love it, because it's too exhausting. I can't watch a movie twice in a row, at least I haven't yet, because that's ninety minutes to two hours of full, undivided attention, even if it is the most mind blowing movie I've ever seen. However, this love does fill back up. At a slow rate, but fast enough so that if I visit something again in a year or two, it's almost with fresh eyes. And maybe some things fill back up at a faster rate. I must have watched Anchorman more than ten times in college because it just happened to be on so many times, and it was just as good every time.

The amount of love and the rate that it refills might have something to do with age. As we grow older, it seems like we give up the max capacity and the speed of replenishment as our tastes expand, which I don't particularly mind.

But a good song. It's so short, you can't deplete much of that love on just one listen. Or even five listens. It's amazing that I can love a song as much as I love a movie or a book. It's a different measurement for how much something can change your life or how much something can impact you, but you can love something so much.

So the key to keep that gauge up is to give it some room to breathe. Find something amazing, and resist the urge to smother it. And then this thing you love, you'll love it for much longer, and maybe that love will grow, and maybe, just maybe, it might just last forever.