It’s not like it was unexpected. Shopping for a new phone has been on my list for a little while. I just hoped that it could have waited a few more months.
The problem was my iPhone 7’s connector port, the one used for recharging and for using headphones. Any cord in that port wasn’t staying in properly anymore. What began as an occasional issue now required progressively more jiggling for it to:
(a) stay in, and
(b) to find the sweet spot for it to recharge or to send music to the headphones.
Needless to say, going for a walk or a run with the phone has been out of the question for several months.
Ironically, this phone was probably the one that has endured the least amount of wear and tear of all of the phones I have owned in the last twenty years. Let’s face it, like most of us, it spent the pandemic at home for two years.
On the “Oh no!” day in question, it took about 10 cord-jiggling sessions to finally get it to produce the beep tone to say “I’m plugged in”. I knew deep down that this situation wasn’t going to get any better.
I grudgingly drove to a mall in the city, visited the Apple Store and decided on a new iPhone 13 mini. It checked all the boxes of what I was looking for. You’d think I would have been overjoyed, but I was just in a grey mood that another piece of technology bit the dust sooner than I thought that it should have.
But in doing so, I corrected a mistake I made with my iPhone 7: too little memory. Let’s face it, 32 GB doesn’t go far these days. When the operating system takes 7 GB and the background files take another 7 GB, there’s not much room left for pictures and music.
At the time, I wasn’t aware of what a mistake that was for the music lover in me.
When it comes to music, my choices are often driven by how I feel in the moment. For example, am I in an upbeat, celebratory mood? Do I need music as a pick-me-up? Do I feel overwhelmed and need music to calm me down and ground me?
Over time, I realized that keeping myself to a small number of playlists was not helping me meet this life-long habit of matching music to my mood to balance out my energy. I didn’t realize the extent to which it chipped away at my joie de vivre.
While I certainly could have rotated the playlists in and out more frequently, time has been in short supply in recent years.
Maybe I was overcompensating, but rather than going with the base model iPhone with 128 GB I went with the next model up at 256 GB. I was determined to never… ever… run out of storage space with this phone.
After transferring my apps and data from the old phone to the new phone, I started to transfer music. Along the way, my frown started to turn upside down as I started realizing the amount of music I could store on this new device.
As I was transferring albums that I hadn’t seen or heard in years, it felt like I was reconnecting with old friends all over again. In doing so, I started making appointments with myself to listen to this one on the next drive to do errands, or that one the next time I’d be going for a walk.
What is interesting to me is that in the last few years, on top of the pandemic, my work life was very busy and home life was very busy (i.e., buying/selling/moving). I had gravitated toward a steady diet of music to soothe the senses… not that there was anything wrong with that. Clearly, I needed it!
But now that my senses have had a year of soothing in retirement, I am starting to feel my energy returning in addition to a renewed curiosity to explore and to savour the contents of my music library.
Throughout my working years, I was so pressed for time, it wasn’t unusual for me to just listen to the hits of a given album. But now, in retirement, I feel I have the time and head space to listen to each and every song on an album, and to enjoy the experience like a walk in an art gallery.
In a bit of a Rip Van Winkle move, I started wondering what I had missed in the last few years. While I had become a huge fan of Dua Lipa and Harry Styles, I hadn’t had the time to really check out all of their peers who were making waves on the Billboard charts. Once that journey had begun and I started adding to the collection, I thought to myself, “That’s the music lover I used to know!”
I admit that my enjoyment of music borders on gluttony, for lack of a better word, but music truly is one of life’s simple but greatest pleasures. What can I say, it feeds my soul!
Despite my initial disappointment at having to buy a new phone, I was thrilled by the expanded ability to store more music on my new device, allowing me more opportunity to actively appreciate music again.
Maybe the ailing phone was the universe’s way of driving me back to my love of music. In doing so, it also succeeded in restoring the energy and the inspiration I feel when listening to works of art from recording artists, songwriters, musicians and producers from around the world.
If my sense of creativity also enjoys a renewed sense of energy as a result of the dismissal of the broken phone, then that was certainly a great “bright side” to an unfortunate situation.
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