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Be nice, be happy

I have an eclectic taste in music; I grew up in a musical household. My mom sang, my dad played the piano, and my brother and I each learned at least a couple of different instruments. I was in my high school’s marching band, jazz band, and theater orchestra. I also played in college and in a community wind ensemble as an adult.

I am grateful for my life of music. I remember sitting in 3rd period band in high school, and my teacher would play over the band room speakers random tracks of music from all sorts of genres as part of the day’s lesson. It was amazing how he got us all to stop and listen. Music was a collective experience, and I long for the days of that collective consciousness and group experience.

I remember back when Lauryn Hill came into popularity. I discovered EDM in college, hip hop & rap in junior high, and I grew up going to LA Phil concerts. I got a totally undeserving B- in music theory AP (I really should have gotten a D at best) and won some of the top awards in music from my high school. I tried out for the state honor band, and that is where I learned how unremarkable and amateur I am compared to so many of the other really good kids.

I am still practicing to this day. It’s a regular hobby of mine and *bonus*, it helps me process emotions. Sometimes I close my eyes and I let the music come out naturally. I play a scene in my mind from something that might have happened earlier in the day and I play out the emotions through the music.

When I do this, I can get sucked in a time warp. I travel back to the earliest days of grief over my mom’s death when I was 37. I remember the isolation of COVID. Now some years after the lockdown, memories hit different. I imagine it will continue to evolve.

I give all this background info because what I’m getting at is, I am going to share a song by the Black Eyed Peas. I’ve learned that people have strong opinions about BEP, and quite frankly, I don’t care. I love these guys. Fergie is from my hometown, and I know someone, that went to high school with, her little sister, and Fergie was a senior. Anyhow, BEP’s music evokes good vibes, energy, and reminds me of college.

So - I recommend this song because of the lyrics. They are just nice. The music production itself is not for everyone, and I was moved by the lyrics.

The lyrics reminded me of a book I recommend to my clients and patients. Hardwiring Happiness, by Rick Hanson. I read this book while I was getting work experience for my license requirements during my own therapy. Essentially, the book goes over strengthening our brain’s ability to be on the lookout for the good times. I think it takes seconds to start rewiring our brain, and with practice, it gets easier and natural.

So be different, be nice, I promise it’ll change your life.

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