For much of my life, I’ve been chronically single. While friends’ relationships blossom and implode around me, I stay the same. I have the occasional romantic blip here and there, but for the most part I’ve missed out on the trials and triumphs of having a “love life.”
About 5% of the time I actively fret about it. I shoot my best friend a sad text or I lie in my bed lamenting its emptiness and wondering about what I’m doing wrong, but more often than not I’m fine. I’m happy and I’m making great strides in every other area of my life. Recently, I got to thinking about why that is and I’ve come to the conclusion that my profound love of music fulfills my emotional needs in so many ways that I have no need to dwell on relationships (or the lack thereof.) Here’s what music can do for me that no man can:
1. Music always offers you something totally different and surprising.
If you think about it, a romantic partner can only be so many things to you. I’m not saying people can’t surprise you, because they definitely, unequivocally can and do, but still we all have limits. It’s near-impossible to keep a relationship perpetually fresh. Some people can only be x amount emotionally available or x amount okay with your jealous streak. Meanwhile, there is absolutely no limit to what music offers and there are an infinite amount of ways that it can surprise us. That’s why every year, without fail, a ridiculous song like “The Fox” or “Gangham Style” goes platinum. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, we’ll never know.
2. You’ll meet “the one” time and again.
Dating involves a lot more misses than hits, but with music you can stop the “date” 10 seconds in if you’re not satisfied and no one gets hurt. The musician will never know! In that vein, I don’t know any feeling better than finding a new favorite song and obsessing over it. Four to five times a year I encounter a song that completely changes my life in some wonderful and fundamental way. I’ll listen to it again and again and again and again and when I eventually get bored with it…
3. It’s okay to get sick and tired of a song/band and then come back to it months or years later.
We’re usually warned against going back to ex-lovers. At first the familiarity is nice and comforting, but if you don’t solve the issue that broke you up in the first place, the second (or third) breakup tends to be more volatile than the first and more emotionally damaging. Not so with music. I will become completely fed up with a song, especially after abusing the repeat button, and not listen to it again for ages. But when you spontaneously rediscover a song you once loved it’s like running into an old friend after drifting apart, but they only have fond memories of you.
4. Collecting more music only makes you a better music lover.
Earlier this year, New York Magazine’s Maureen O’Connor wrote an amazing article about how hard it is to escape your exes in the age of the internet and how much smaller the world seems as you add flings to your list. Even the most promiscuous of individuals can eventually hit a breaking point. The opposite is true with music. Collecting massive amounts of music is enriching to the soul and the mind. There’s one caveat, though: Try your hardest to really listen to and understand your growing collection and every once in a while go through and cut out the tracks you never listen to. Don’t let your musical garden grow wild.
5. It’s okay to let your taste in music define you.
Every once in a while I’ll come across an advice column where someone laments how obsessed they get with their significant other to the detriment of the other relationships in their life. We’ve all known relationship chameleons who can be a sports super fan for one person and an opera enthusiast for another. And most times, we pity them. We say they don’t know themselves. When it comes to music it’s totally fine to let your iTunes library represent who you are. My music collection is me and I am my music collection. In it, I am always safe. And if and when someone does want to get to know me they need look no further than my music collection. It’s where I keep my heart.