GUEST BLOG: Are Our Lives Like iPod’s Shuffle Feature?


NOTE: I’ll be doing this new thing with my blog where I feature other writers who are also judging people and certain situations.

Meet Mary Nurrenburn. She’s a good friend of mine who I met when I was writing for the Courier. She will be contributing to

Are Our Lives Like an iPod’s Shuffle Feature?
By Mary Nurrenbern

Our iPods have a shuffle selection where it randomly chooses what’s going to be played.  The cards are in the iPod’s hands (as the saying goes).

Life at times has the same feel.  Will it give me a song from my sad days playlist where I will hear the strains of Adele singing Make You Feel My Love?  That is the equivalent in my life of rain falling so hard and the reminders of past friendships, loves and the loss of people who I cherished so deeply. Then there are times that the shuffle I get are put in the raging and anger playlist.  Nirvana screaming, “No I don’t have a gun,”  where everything is slamming up against me in lightening speed and I feel like I am spinning out of control into a vast void of overwhelming confusion.

In these days there is a battle happening between the two playlists converging back and forth. Sad songs are stuck in my head but raging songs are being played. This makes it hard to function, to stop tears from falling.  On to the next song, the next day, suddenly John Mayer is singing Stop this Train. As the words reverberate in my head, “once in a while when its good, it feels like it should.”  The lyrics are reminders that life goes on and on,  not always being able to stop what’s happening.

Is this where that acceptance that people are always talking about comes in?  The realization that life is ebb and flow and it’s the days where your shuffle plays Born to be Alive and it makes all the other stuff worthwhile?  The beat that takes over and I can’t help but stand up and shake it, shake it?  The good days filled with laughter, fun and excitement?

The nature of the iPod, however, is to be programmed with songs of your choosing… so then why not just program it with happy upbeat shuffle songs?  Do we ignore the days of pain when a loved one has died and we need to hear Evanescence singing, My Immortal, the haunting melody that hits at the heart and starts a river of tears flowing? Or do we just not put our iPods on shuffle at all?

Ignore that button unless we are willing to take the pulling, jabbing, laughing and other plethora of life’s dealings that may come with it.

Then there is the stuck iPod that won’t play anything but shuffled songs that are gravitated towards towards the sad songs, the angry raging tunes that fire the bloodstream and leave you wanting to pound your fists on the table or escape in your closet, in the darkness just waiting till it is all done and the songs have run out.

Do we live without music, shut it off which equates to shutting down and just being monotone soldiers following an emotionless path?  Or is it that we are to clear our playlists, the thoughts, actions and music that are stuck in our heads from years past?  If so, how is that to be done when the tunes play over and over, engraved in the very deep recesses of our brain?

I think somewhere there is this middle ground for the life that we have filled with it’s ups and downs.  What would it be like to not connect to all that is a part of life? How do we find that balance to reach the goal being that of “happiness,” the ultimate song that moves us forward into blissful days?  I am still searching on how to get out of that “everything is going wrong and keeps giving me more crap” playlist.  There must be a technical error.  I guess it’s back to the manual.

About neilprotacio

Freelance journalist who just so happens to know what goes well with certain breads.
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