Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Playlists and Random Shuffle

Order, Design, Tension, Composition, Balance, Light, Harmony
—Stephen Sondheim

Technically the words to the closing number of Act I in Sunday in the Park with George, but more likely a metaphor for my life. I like order. I like to plan. I need to plan.

This weekend, I had my iPod playing in the car and the above song played in my 'Favorite Musicals' playlist. As I listened, I realized just how orchestrated my life can be. The same songs over and over. Life examined at a stop light often yields amazing results. I leaned over and hit the shuffle button.

♪ Night Moves – Bob Seger ♪

Routines make me who I am and keep me at peace. I have Christmas cards done in November. There are file cabinets with printed tabs on the hanging folders and nothing gets misplaced. White boards are mounted on our basement staircasae and list every item we need from the store. I put the 'oh-I-could-do-this-now' in OCD.

♪ Rock You Like a Hurricane – The Scorpions ♪

My partner is not. He's totally not a planner. Nothing is thought out, it just sorta happens. He likes spontaneity. I always say, "Spontaneity has its time and place." The one time we traveled internationally, I actually had the entire trip mapped out in a two page excel spreadsheet. It was almost as brilliant as the 15-page PowerPoint presentation I had created for our dog sitter.

♪ Appalachian Spring – Aaron Copeland ♪

We make a good couple because of our differences in timeliness... most times. It’s hard to balance our many activities and not find ourselves a little too orchestrated. On weekends when we have Corey, it seems like there is a complete agenda even before we pick him up. But the good thing with a kid is that sometimes, schedules need to alter due to them.

♪ Independence Day – Martina McBride ♪

So maybe it’s time my life was more 'shuffle' than 'playlist'. It takes work to slow things down and wing it. I hate winging it. But again, this is about stepping outside the comfort zone and trying something new.

♪ Hark the Herald Angels Sing – Points of Grace ♪

I’ve taken to not wearing a watch on weekends. Too many times, I look down and realize that tasks aren’t synchronized with my imaginary timeline. I let hunger (and a slight bitchiness in my tone) be my notification that it’s time to eat. Projects end when I’m tired or just want to rest. And they’ll resume when I’m ready.

♪ Rocky Mountain High – John Denver

I’ve tried to make sure that shopping, laundry and bill paying are done on weeknights. TV shows have been cut in half and replaced with walks around the neighborhood. And we’ve actually eaten dinner in the dining room.

♪ The Other Woman – Ray Parker Jr.

Living life on the edge can sometimes just mean sitting there looking at the view. Not everything needs to be fast. Things come and go too quickly in this world. It doesn't mean you can't listen to your favorite songs. On contrary, you must listen to them.

But think how much better they'd sound if you heard a little something different in between.



Anonymous MetroDad said...

My wife might be your long-lost sibling. She'll stay up for hours cleaning the house before the maid comes. She alphabetizes her CDs. And she feels that God's true gift to mankind is Excel.

I'm trying to get her to take time out to smell the roses and listen between the songs.

Great post, Steve.

4:52 PM  

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