Lights out

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

A bunch of people wanted to chat with me about my off-the-cuff column last week about balance. It’s weird. You’d think as long as I’ve been doing this, I’d have a better handle on what’s going to excite response.

I had one thing I wanted to add; something that occurred to me as a result of these conversations. I mentioned music, and the enjoyment of it, is a source of balance, peace of mind. Music is also a mental time machine.

I’ve noted lately that listening to the music of my youth is kind of a reboot for the brain, too. I’ve always been a bit of a punk/alternative music fan. Apropos of nothing, I’ll bet I was one of the first 10 people in the state of Nebraska to own the Sex Pistols’ album (on vinyl) Never Mind the Bollocks Here’s the Sex Pistols.

What I’m thinking about is how, now that I’m older, I can reset my attitude by listening to music from particular times in my life. I guess it’s cliché, but like many clichés, it has a literal application. We’ve all seen sitcom scenes where some old couple gets jiggy on the dance floor and then somebody makes a sexy comment and adds, “It makes me feel like a kid again.”

I feel pretty young most of the time, but there were “phases” in my life that I’ve recently realized I can access by listening to the music I listened to when I was in that phase. For example, if I want to access the angsty, hard-drinking, hard-writing frustrated poet and writer from my late teens, I can listen to The Doors. If I want to access the happy, don’t-give-a-damn Brian, I can listen to … too many to mention. Alan Alda Brian: R.E.M. So lately, I’ve been listening to the ‘80s channel on Sirius. It’s really weird how I (and presumably anyone of a certain age) can—just by listening to the songs of my 20s—move my mindset in a real way back to those days. Sort of the way the smell of turkey cooking takes me back to my grandmother’s kitchen, but more substantial than a mere memory.