iPod Therapy

5 years ago

Are you someone who doesn't just listen to the music, the music is really the soundtrack of your life? That's me too! I remember when the Dateline Timeline questions would be posed and I always could nail the year by the music clue.  Seriously, my own life is a timeline set to music. And being this way meant I was Queen of the Mix-Tape throughout the 80's. 

Fast forward to present day, and the Playlist is my new playground. I have embraced the iPod and now have a place to show off my skillz.

Image: lethaargic via Flickr


Admittedly my 16 year old son was not impressed by my Playlist prowess. "Mom? About your Playlist."

"What? What about it?"

"Well, I'm not going to tell you it's good. It's not. But I also wouldn't say it would be the soundtrack in hell either. I think it would be best in that middle place."

"Um. You mean Purgatory?"

"YES! That's the place. I read about it in The Inferno."

And this is why he's in Honors English! And because I am a smartass, I renamed my Playlist "Purgatory."  Then I put it on Spotify for all to enjoy as well. I mean who doesn't want a playlist including both Thelonius Monk and Naughty By Nature? It just makes sense!

Twenty years ago, I had a 45-minute commute on rural roads of northwestern Louisiana. Yes, it was a long drive, and yes, my only options were AM, FM, cassette or silence. However, I discovered if I listened to AM, I could pick up The Geraldo Rivera Show on my car stereo. Granted during some of the programs you could hear me yelling at the radio, "MY GOD, WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE LOOK LIKE? THIS IS KILLING ME!" 

Really, think about that show and who the guests were, then think about what it would be like if you only could only hear them and not see them? See? It is mind-blowing. You're welcome.

But one thing I came to appreciate in my commute, is the time. The 45-minute commute allowed me to get ready for what my day would bring, or decompress on the way home from whatever the day brought my way. In doing so, I valued the giant cassette case I carted with me in my car. Depending upon my schedule, I could set the soundtrack of my life according to my song selection. This is exactly what I now do with a playlist.

I've referred to this as my "iPod Therapy." I'm not the first to coin this expression either. Not too long ago I attended an in-service at work. Lo and behold, the presenter was addressing our collective group of social workers and psychologists and telling us all about "iPod Therapy." He shared how important it is for combating Compassion Fatigue. As he went through his playlist, I repeatedly leaned over whispering to one of my colleagues, "I have that on my iPod too."

I've found that music helps me center my moods. For example, last year I was a long-term substitute social worker for a school system. This year, I was hired with a contract. In this economic environment, I truly feel fortunate to have a job, and that I love my job? Even better.

So, every morning as I back out of my driveway, I begin the day with Mary Chapin Carpenter's"I Feel Lucky." Every. Single. Morning. If I need a dose of encouragement along my way, Tom Petty is right there with me reminding me that "I Won't Back Down." And on those days when I need a reminder that though the work I do can be difficult, it is ultimately worth it because my grandmother's favorite singer knows "It Don't Cost Very Much." And my grandmother was also a social worker, like me. Then there are those mornings I might have to "Relax", "Shout," or seek inspiration "Everyday"before I walk into my office.

Once I arrive at work, I sometimes continue rockin' like Dokken. Or more likely embarrassing myself by getting caught by a co-worker doing The Time Warp. A situation that lead to this conversation:

Co-worker: "We're going to miss you. You've got mad social worker skillz."

Me: "Thanks so much. I've enjoyed working with you."

Co-worker: "And I seriously doubt we'll have another dancing social worker. You were our first."

Me: "Guess that makes me the first, your last, your everything."

(See how you can just make the music work in with your work? It totally works!)

On the drive home? If it's been an awesome day? Lionel Richie reaffirms my very existence.  A crappy day? Then I'm going to be agreeing with Jimmy and Alan that "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere." If, however,I'm heading to the grocery store on my way home? Then I'm all about "Captain Vegetable."  Of course I never know what is going to greet me when I walk in the door at the end of the day but thankfully I've got Bob telling me, as I drive into the garage, that I don't have to worry, 'bout a thing.

Every Friday I'm In Love with my commute.  And I want you to be as well. So tell me about your childhood playlist. The doctor is in...


Devra Renner, MSW

Contributing Editor, Family

Read more of me at Parentopia!

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