Walking to the office today I was listening to music I used to listen to in my teens. It was good, but it didn’t move me like it did then. I miss those days when it was so easy to lose myself completely in a song. Music would take me to the depths of my soul, and make me feel contact with the most foundational questions.

These days, music is a good way to change my mood at the margins and an enjoyable experience. It’s rare that it comes close to the penetrating depth of experience it once did. Part of the reason is that now my mind is mostly full most of the time. And not just full of sports scores and funny stories (though thankfully there is some of that), but full of hard problems with business and family and, occasionally, philosophy. Music is great, but I’ve got stuff to figure out and fast.

When I was younger, my jobs didn’t involve much deep problem solving. I manned a cash register at a golf course, delivered papers, bagged groceries, and worked construction. The tasks and hours were known and the problems repeats. My personal life was about friends and fun. None of that was particularly hard or deep. So music enabled me to go deep on what was left. Stuff like the meaning of life and my own potential and purpose.

The questions and ideas I pondered as a kid were more important in the grand scheme of things than those I spend most of my time on today. This isn’t self-condemnation, because I think part of the answer to my place in the cosmos is to solve the problems I’m working on now, which require more grounded, near-term focus. Still, that youthful ability to disconnect from the day and ask the eternal questions is a great thing.

A little more music, a little less podcast and audiobook listening. A little more mind-wandering, a little less problem-solving. Sounds kinda nice.