I can't live without music. Since I was little, I've listened to or played music every day. But each day is different, so its playlist follows its structure, not some proscribed outline. The songs I choose are picked based on my rules, which are eerily similar to those for playing music in a public place.
- Gauge the mood. No one wants to hear hyper Latin pop if they're just hanging out. Likewise, the same music has its place during runs and workouts, but not many other places.
- Be mindful. If you're by yourself, pay attention to how the music affects you. Listen to the music that sets the tone for the rest of your day. After all, you don't want to be the only spacy emo kid at the disco or that twitchy overcaffeinated jock at the symphony. Don't be that guy.
- Make dedicated playlists. Appropriating specific songs for specific occasions heightens their significance to that activity. Assign songs to activities and don't let them cross over.
- Being sad is OK. Happiness is a constant choice, but the world can be overwhelming. Choose happiness, but take time to experience your other emotions. If you need a musical boost to lift or deepen your mood, pick your songs accordingly.
- Do it and dig it. Trashy rap aficionado? Get your daily dose of humor at Snacks n Shit. Classical junkie? Rock out with your Bach out. Time is too precious to listen to music you dislike. There's no reason to make yourself unhappy.