Life on Shuffle

“Music is the wallpaper of our minds” – Jason Silva

Sometime I can’t find the right tune. Nothing seems to pop out as I thumb through the music library. Funny how things have changed. Once a tower slated with dozens of plastic discs held the tunes which reverberated in my ear drums. Now, they are held in a tiny contraption, no bigger than my high school beeper. Many of my recent purchases sound done, over-played, worn out on these ears. I need something to spark my mind, drum up some business in my creative pursuits. A song that can pull from the fire, held seemingly dormant.

Shuffle. Up until the invention of the MP3 player, this term did not make much sense. Yet, what genius this term truly is. You shuffle the things you have piled up to mix up the order, surprise the recipient. Add an act of randomness to a static world. Shuffle what seems ordinary and you may just get a new outlook. A twist of a once stale perception. You rediscover the card left at the back of the deck. It seems new, it’s got something more to give.

Click and roll, shuffle is my only option, the tiny contraption peers into the countless songs and presents its selection.

Mumford and Sons: Little Lion Man

“…You’re not as brave as you were at the start./ Rate yourself and rake yourself,/ Take all the courage you have left./ Wasted on fixing all the problems that you made in your own head”

The tune churns up the date, the time and the feeling felt at first listen. Songs tend to rip the emotions from the memory bank left behind. And “Little Lion Man” hits those chords tuned by the past. It’s funny how a song can take you back, instantly. For me, the song brings me back to the moments of leaving behind a life of uncertainty. Always afraid, as a young man I did my best to hold lukewarm commitments, always holding an exit plan ready. Once I chose the path, once I stuck to a promise, the very problems fabricated in my mind melted away and were replaced with progress. It feels as if I’ve heard the song for this first time, the beat reignites as well as reminds.

The Ataris: In Spite of the World

“If only you could see that you that is a part of me,/ maybe you could see inside yourself”

Teenage angst rages in this tune. The words and beat regurgitate the feelings of my teenage years. Many give a hard time to teenagers. Yes, we may view them as soft, but being a teenager is hard. Everything sucks at that age. We are just grasping reality and reality is a bitch. I remember choices made that brought me to today. The friendships severed to serve a higher calling and the ones kept that forged a lifelong relationship. From my teenage years I brought with me a person who would change the entire outcome of my life. My wife, at 17, gave a skinny, metal-mouthed punk a shot and set us on a course we couldn’t even have imagined than. In spite of the world, we grow into the men we are, for the better and sometimes for the worse. Your teens tend to lay out that blueprint; however, always remember the blueprint can be changed, shredded and redrawn throughout life.

Chuck Ragan: Right as Rain

“Oh I must say, my hearts on fire./ But I don’t mind the pain,/ You’re far worth the pain. ”

If you haven’t heard a song from Chuck Ragan, do yourself a favor: stop reading this and find his tunes somewhere on the internet. It won’t be hard. The man’s voice and lyrics cut through the soul. And this song right here does just that. I didn’t shed tears the moment my son entered this world, really I just laughed hysterically during his arrival. Yeah, I am weird. The reality didn’t strike until the following day. My son slept curled on my chest. The boy loved music from the start and his favorite tune, Chuck Ragan’s “Right as Rain”. In that moment the song started to play and dozens of emotions began flowing as I realized who it was I had become and who it was I had sleeping peacefully on my chest. Within moments, water works poured from my tear ducts. In that moment I realized my son, his presence, my new role and overall joy felt right as rain. Everything was just right and I felt grateful.

Metallica: Fuel

“…And I burn/ Churning my direction/ Quench my thirst with gasoline”

The next tune reignites the fire. Hard chords and a heavy beat, the two things you need when pumping out various reps with iron. Metallica has a way of doing that. Taking that dormant savage and awakening him. This was my tune when completing that last set. The one you thought you didn’t have in you. But in comes Metallica with a kick in the ass, within seconds the weight is pulled from the earth’s surface, the ground is covered with an intense speed, or the heavy bag punched with a new sense of power. It’s always good to be a kind gentle soul; however, sometimes and maybe often, the savage caveman needs to be cut loose to settle your ape brain. That’s where heavy metal does it’s duty. Train hard and crush those tiny challenges, they apply to everything else you do. They make you who you are. Give your fire some fuel.

Songs are like dog-eared pages in a long novel. Points in the story that brought change, progress, or failure. They help us thumb back to that time, reigniting those thoughts and memories we may have forgotten about. These songs can remind us of how far we have come. They can motivate us to push just a little bit harder, a little bit longer and a little bit faster. They take us through a trip down memory lane by only using sound. Next time you feel things have gone stale and boredom has taken hold, put that song library on shuffle. Allow it to bring up songs from the past. Allow it to put a new perspective on how you view today. Put your life on shuffle, mix it up.

Efren is the father of two boys. He is a police officer and a personal trainer.

2 thoughts on “Life on Shuffle

  1. What Fantastic reminder. My 10 cd player is always on when I’m home and hitting Shuffle is a great way to hear things in a different order. I’m thinking that you’ve INSPIRED me to shuffle my life around again….Do the things I do in different order or no order at all…Thanks for the reminder….

    Clearly anytime is a good time to shuffle and change things up. Different order produces different perspectives…


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the song lyrics , I can now see what you experienced the day your son was born, no tears but the following days where ones to remember . Awesome read!

    Liked by 1 person

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