Married to my MP3 player: Why I Listen to Audiobooks (Introducing Me & GMB Pt 2)
Check out the first post in this series for the story of how I got started blogging: Accidentally Launching Myself into Cyberspace
So, a little over a year ago, my Insignia Pilot media player broke. I had had it for years and really loved it. Unfortunately, they don’t make them anymore. I had an ancient (i.e. 10 year old) Creative Zen Micro laying around, but the battery wouldn’t hold a charge for very long. It was at that point that I was forced to face how much time I spend listening to my books.
I had already begun to realize it a bit earlier when I committed to spending one day a month technology free. I allowed myself to use my intellectually challenged (i.e. dumb) phone to make & receive calls, but nothing else. It was amazing how anxious I felt closing things down, but I figured it was because I was shutting everything off. But now I was faced with the loss of just one device, and I discovered how (literally) attached I had become to it.
As I began the search for a replacement, I commented to my mother that (as a single woman) the player was basically my husband. I spent all day with it and slept with it at night. Some days, it was the only “person” who talked to me all day long. (Yes, I am a bit solitary and that’s alright.)
As I wrote in the previous post, I have always loved reading. I was the kid who was usually reading a book in class (thankfully I was pretty good at following along just enough to be able to answer questions when the teacher called on me). Or the one reading under the covers with a flashlight instead of sleeping (yes, I've really done that). Unfortunately, as we grow up it becomes harder to read when you are supposed to be doing something else.
I spent my earliest post-college years living in a big city and commuting on the bus. But reading on the bus made me really sick. At the time, I owned a portable cassette walk-man and my library had a huge collection of books on tape. I had trouble "reading" this way at first, but stuck it out and have been forever grateful that I did. (Note: I will write about how I adapted to audiobooks in my next post in this series.)
I now have a 15 minute commute (round trip), but audiobooks have found their way into every area of my life. I listen while doing housework, exercising (hate it otherwise), running errands, doing boring stuff on the computer, crafting (crocheting, knitting, cross-stitching, etc), taking road trips or flying to visit family, etc. A year ago, I went on a solo cruise for a big birthday, and audiobooks let me sit & enjoy the beautiful water while also using my vacation to listen to some great books!
And it's not just during the day
One of the biggest impacts this has had on my life was when I discovered that it could help me with my insomnia. I have "Initial Insomnia," meaning that it can take me hours to fall asleep - every night. Anyone who has ever experienced this knows that the longer you lie there, exhausted but unable to sleep, the more frustrated and unable to sleep you become.
One day when I was riding on a ferry and re-listening to a Harry Potter book (I don't remember which one), I jerked awake and realized that I had fallen asleep - partially sitting up, in the middle of the day, in full sunlight, with people talking all around me! While I wasn't cured, and I still sleep with a black out curtain & earplugs, audiobooks & an under the pillow speaker have truly changed my life. As long as I listen to a book that I have heard several times already (and which doesn't have abrupt volume changes), I find that I can usually fall asleep faster and can always be less frustrated if I can't.
I would like to conclude by thanking the many authors and publishers who have made their books available in this format - from the dinosaur days (when I had to carry a large flipcase of cassettes and change them every 30 minutes) to now (when I walk around with a tiny player that holds a couple hundred books for me to choose from). And I would especially like to thank all the professional narrators who take the time to look up the proper pronunciation and otherwise get it "right" so I can have a better day and a good night.
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