Where would our world be without music and books? I don't ask this question lightly, for both have been a formative part of my life since my childhood. I believe I have already shared my first experience with walking into a public library with my mother to get my very first library card. The smell of the books that day was an intoxicating scent to me. To think that I could come here to this beautiful place and check out books that would, indeed, take me to lands far away was an exciting prospect to my young heart. To this day, the smell of a book gives me joy and the feel of a book in my hands brings an excitement of what adventures lay in its pages. I especially enjoy reading books in a series because the characters become my "friends" and I typically re-read those books over and over again.
Likewise, music is a part of all that is dear to me. I am told that, as a little baby, I loved to clap and sing along with songs and nursery rhymes that my sisters would sing and recite with me. Later, in elementary school, I auditioned to sing in the school choir and began taking violin lessons offered in our school system. This later led to my playing in school orchestras and bands and even directing the choir at my church while still in high school. It's quite telling that I remember part of an essay I wrote in elementary school about how one would describe rhythm. I said that, "even in the swinging of an umbrella there is rhythm." The teacher seemed impressed that I recognized rhythm in ways that went beyond typical music venues. I have carried music with me throughout my life...into adulthood, into my education, into my teaching and into my serving of God. Now, in retirement, I continue to make time in my life for music as I learn a new instrument (flute) and direct the handbell choir at my church. The Mr. and I have listening sessions with music from different time periods which I really enjoy. And, yes, I sometimes swing an umbrella on my arm and think about the rhythms that I am creating. I can truly say, along with Amy Lowell, that "'tis me that is the music." Where would I be without it?
Reading and music are not just good for me, though. They are good for all of us. According to healthline.com reading improves brain connectivity, increases vocabulary and comprehension and increases the ability to empathize to just name a few benefits. Music also touches our souls and emotions in my opinion. In fact, I have to be careful about the music I choose to listen to as it can really affect my mood. Sometimes, I have to change the music if a piece is particularly somber or melancholy as it can bring me to tears. Here is what healthline.com says about music and its effect on us:
"Music exerts a powerful influence on human beings. It can boost memory, build task endurance, lighten your mood, reduce anxiety and depression, stave off fatigue, improve your response to pain, and help you work out more effectively."Apr 1, 2020 (Healthline.com)
As a retiree, I look for things that keep my mind sharp and reading and music are both great avenues for this task. According to Philips Lifeline reading benefits seniors in many ways such as enhancing memory, sharpening decision making skills, delaying onset of Alzheimers and dementia, reducing stress and promoting better sleep. These benefits make me want to grab a book right now! Luckily this is not an issue as I typically read every single day.
*Not a sponsored post.