Listening to Records in the Digital Age

On the eve of 2018, I sit here typing on my laptop, listening to Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on vinyl. Yesterday, I pulled out the old Robert Rodriguez directed movie The Faculty on VHS while I worked out on my new twisty board, a Christmas present from my father last week. A few weeks ago I found myself scanning the radio for the college station, listening to the new music of a generation twenty years my junior. Last month I cancelled cable, and now my son and I get three stations on TV, all PBS, brought in by the digital antenna hanging on my wall. And all this juxtaposition of the past meeting the present, of their coexistence, has left me feeling a need to write, a yearning to use words as a search for meaning.

On this eve of 2018, I pause to do something most people no longer do; I pause to get up and flip my vinyl to side two. I know that records are making a comeback; the past has a way of coming back for a time, a way for the younger generation to connect to something, a piece of history they were not a part of.

2017 was not a year of change for me, it was not a year of profound enlightenment. 2017 was a transition year. It was the year I just needed to make it through, and it felt like it every step of the way, slogging through the loneliness, the anxiety of my huge life altering decisions and the effect they have on my child, the stress of the new school year and the changes within my job that come with a new school and a new teacher and a new environment. This was the year I took my first summer break since I was a child, this was the first full year living the city that will be my home longer than any other place I have lived since 1999-2005, when I lived in this same city for my undergrad years. 2017 may not have been the best year, as transitions are not always smooth or exciting, but it was a necessary year.

In the fall of 2018, I will begin working toward my master’s in Speech and Language Pathology. I will begin this process after my taxes are completed, making appointments to get help with financial aid and academic advising. It is something I am terrified and excited to begin, a new chapter that will give me a goal and purpose, will provide me with a career that allows me to work with a multitude of ages, to work with a myriad of people, and to help. When I moved here in the fall of 2016, I began subbing as a paraprofessional in the special needs classroom at my child’s elementary school, and was later hired. I have been doing this work for a year now, and every week, my kids that I para for meet with the school speech and language pathologist. And she is awe inspiring. It is amazing watching her work these kids, making them laugh and keeping them engaged while teaching them necessary skills for communication. I look forward to my kids’ time with her. Selfishly, I hope she will still be in her position when I am required to do my internship, and I hope she will need the help, and I hope that I will be able to work with her.

In the pit of my stomach, the anxiety sits like a stone of dread. I haven’t been to university since 2004. I am twenty years older than so many of these kids. I AM PETRIFIED OF THIS CHANGE.

But you know what? Being scared, being terrified, means I’m feeling. It means I’m facing these fears and working toward accomplishing my goals. Each days brings me a little closer. Each day I show my kid that just because something is difficult and scary and not always the easy way, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth fighting for what you want. I am trying so hard to show him how to be strong.

So 2018, bring on the change. Bring on the new challenges. I may not feel ready, but I know that I can do this. I have to do this, or I have to fail trying my Goddamned hardest. And I guess, without having a clear path where this bit of blogging was going to go, that is what I get out of this: the sense that no matter how tough the journey, how lonely, showing my child that working hard for what you want is worth the struggle.

And of that note, time to find a new record to help usher into another year of the digital age…

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