Something I’ve found unexpected about growing older is my increasing contentedness with not listening to music. For most of my life, I found it natural to accompany most work or leisure with some sort of sound: pick an album, press play, listen to completion. Whatever I chose to hear could serve a slew of functions. It could, for example, act as an extension of my current mood, soundtracking any activity in the way I best saw fit. On countless occasions, music was a buffer between my mind and the impending tasks—be they tedious or terrifying, work or working out—that I would fear facing head-on. Even in discovering John Cage’s approach to music listening, music’s expanded world only meant extended periods of distraction. That is to say, in appreciating sounds that emanated from non-traditional sources, there proved to be even more opportunities for removing myself from reality. As such, stripping music of its sacrosanct status was a result of no longer wanting—or being able—to avoid life. And today, it sometimes feels good to simply sit, to not listen.