One of my favorite things on Spotify is “Discover Weekly” — a weekly playlist where they serve you up a bunch of music, old and new from a variety of genres, based on your listening preferences. I get bored listening to the few playlists I’ve made, and I don’t have time or the patience to go make new ones, so I like it when Artificial Intelligence does it for me (though I wish it would learn that I don’t really like country or Christian rock).

Discover Weekly has gotten me through more than a few solo runs, keeping me interested and excited enough about the next song that I forget I’m still running. I wish it changed more than once a week.

Every week I find at least a couple of songs to add to my “liked” songs — sometimes new, sometimes a different genre, and sometimes old stuff I forgot about, like “Heart of the Matter” from Don Henley, which was popular when I graduated from High School in 1989. Listening to the lyrics now in 2022, the song seems more current and relevant (to me) then ever:

The more I know, the less I understand,
All the things I thought I knew, I’m learning again.

**************

These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
Ah, the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They’re the very things we kill, I guess
Oh, pride and competition
Cannot fill these empty arms

And the work I put between us, you know it doesn’t keep me warm

**************

There are people in your life
Who’ve come and gone
They let you down
You know they’ve hurt your pride

You better put it all behind you baby
‘Cause life goes on
You keep carryin’ that anger
It’ll eat you up inside baby

**************

Henley thought it was bad thirty years ago, what must he think now when times are definitely uncertain, there’s loads of undefined yearning, and hordes of people filled with rage everywhere.

I’ve done what I can lately to try and put it all behind me. I mostly dropped out of social media. I stopped listening to daily news podcasts and reading three newspapers (I barely skim the local one). I’ve quit following people and organizations/pages that stress me out. I barely turn on the TV.

I feel a slight amount of guilt for basically dropping out. Giving up. Walking away from it all. Pretending not to see. But, there’s so little I can do about all these big problems (other than shout into the vacuum of social media with everyone else) and the constant worry and anxiety is taking years of my life.

And if I keep carrying that anger, it’ll eat me up inside, baby.

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About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.