The week in words #13

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I had so many plans for the Easter weekend, and then I got a headache. And a cold. All the stress of March seems to have caught up with me, in the form of a bad back, a stiff neck and aching jaw and head where I grind my teeth at night. It's not easy to be productive when your body is throwing a tantrum. Let's cross all fingers that the coming weeks will get better.

For April, my personal focus is running. I have a half marathon coming up at the end of the month, and I need to be in shape for that. So April is for eating and running. And, hopefully, some more creative work. I've been reading some pretty awesome books I'd like to have deeper thoughts about.

Speaking of deeper thoughts – I am, once again, trying to disentangle myself from my phone. This time I'm following a plan (more on that next week, when it's over), and yesterday I spent the entire day without screens. No phone, no laptop. I went outside, I watched other people on their phones, and I walked. I got lost. I had to deal with some strange memories that decided to attack me when I stood, vulnerable without a screen to look at, in the line to the loos in the British Museum. It was an interesting day.

But oh my god, did I read pages. And I wrote pages. And in the evening, I did use my phone: to listen to music.

I haven't properly listened to music in such a long time. I forgot how, when I lived alone, I could spend hours dancing through my flat. I forgot the feeling of having the window open at night, looking out into the darkness while listening to an epic orchestra piece. (Music always sounds best in the dark. It has more space then.)

Music is always first to go when I prioritise. (Of the many things I'd love to do but don't have time for, dance and playing the piano are my biggest regrets.) It's so easy to just put on a random Spotify playlist for 'concentration' to have in the background at work. And then, as soon as priorities shift, say, while walking, what goes into our ears needs to be more productive: audiobooks and podcasts, to educate and inspire us. Surely I'm not the only one who feels this pressure to always have their mind on something 'improving'?

I used to have a folder on my MP3 player named 'instrumentals' that I'd listen to on my way home from school. It was about an hour of epic orchestral and electronic pieces whose structures I knew by heart. I could walk to their rhythm, fast, carried by the sound.

Someone once asked me, 'If you don't drink, where do you get your fix?' The answer has always been music. I've made it through many brain crises thanks to the maximum volume setting. And still. I haven't properly listened in months.

I'm now working to recreate that 'instrumentals' playlist on Spotify, and add songs I've found over the years. Here's one of them. Enjoy.