Welcome back to Thursday, everybody. The last couple weeks I’ve focused on products that were meant to help physical well-being, but this week it’s time to work on some mental health. I work in IT so it is not uncommon for me to be sitting in front of a screen, in some form, for over 10 hours a day. Running more has helped pull me outside, but sometimes you just want to sit on the couch and do nothing. Music has always been one of my favorite ways to escape the day, but even streaming apps force you to look at a screen.
My office is my Fortress of Solitude between my games, TV, work computer, and fun computer. It’s not very common to have a single room be somewhere that you compress and decompress, but I could live in there. I love playing music on my phone or computer through my stereo speakers while I sit on my couch, but I have found myself needing to take the screen out of the picture. It was time to see how the 21st century has affected such an old technology.
A record player has been on my wish list for many years, and Christmas was the perfect time to gift one to myself. After months of research, I landed on a U-Turn Orbit Plus turntable with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. U-Turn is a great company based out of Woburn, Massachusetts making all turntables by hand in house. They got their start via Kickstarter where they raised over 300% of their original funding target. They make an audiophile quality turntable for a fraction of the price of a competitor. I got the model without the pre-amp since I already had a receiver which included everything I needed to get the music pumping through the speakers. If you are in the market for a new turntable or an upgrade from a suitcase model, this is definitely one to put on your short list.
Since getting the turntable, my little ball of energy has been curling up with me under a blanket and listening to the classics. This has been a bonus that I did not expect. When it’s time to calm down before bed, she grabs her blanket, and sometimes a handful of her favorite books, and meets me in my office. I will have a few of her favorites lined up and she’ll make the final decision. Usually we’ll go with I’m With Her, Dave Brubeck, or Jim Croce. Sometimes, on the weekends, we will jam out to the original Mary Poppins or Back to the Future soundtrack. I love watching her personality flourish as her taste in music grows. These are memories that I hope she carries forever.
We have been trying to cut down on the amount of screen time we get as a family. This has been a perfect way to entertain A while we both calm down after a long day. We will often watch some Bob Ross or Space X launches in the evening all together, but she knows that if she wants to consume some media within 30 minutes of bedtime, it’s either records with me or nothing at all. Keeping screen time out of the last few moments of the day helps us better focus on each other, and creates more meaningful moments. It also helps prevent A from being so overstimulated right before she lays down for the night.
Music has a way of transporting you to a different time and place if you let it. When I cut the screen out of my listening sessions, I was able to relax deeper and be moved by the music. Every day, I look forward to the moment when I can shut down my computer, turn around, and drop the needle on some classic vinyl. Then, as the sun starts to set, I get to cuddle up with my daughter and share with her the relaxing power of music.
How do you unwind? What’s your favorite album?