I got a record player for Christmas. Yep, it’s one of those hipster suitcase-looking ones from Urban Outfitters. For a woman who owns five typewriters, a record player seemed like the logical next step. Today however, I realized it went a lot deeper than that…

In today’s culture, everything from our words to our love affairs is conducted in the digital realm. Nothing is lasting. Everything is surrounded by a temporary, quick-fix, etherial haze. As I was listening to my records, I was struck by how much time and attention it took. I came of age during the iPod era and now exclusively listen to my music on Spotify. With such devices I can listen thousands of songs in a row — never thinking twice about it. With vinyl, the record ends after four songs and you have to flip it over. You must slowly move the lever and watch as it carefully descends… and then finally plays. There is no skip, no shuffle, no repeat — except that which you make yourself. It takes a presence of mind that is lacking in nearly every other area of my life. I cook, clean, and drive on autopilot. My life is a series of routines that I don’t think much about.

I used to think that Millennials, such as myself, were so drawn to objects of the past like typewriters and record players, because they connected us to a history we perceived to be more genuine. This present world is an entirely disingenuous, fast-paced, whirlwind and in the midst of it we are searching for something real. Although I do believe that connection is why we might purchase a record player from Urban Outfitters, I have fallen in love with mine because not only does it connect me to a time I perceive to have been slower and more mindful, but actually makes me slower and more mindful.

Since receiving my beautiful record player, I have found that this concept of mindfulness has also become more present in my response to food. I have started paying attention to what I am eating and really making sure that a) it is what I want to be eating b) I stop when I am full. I have started listening to my body and paying attention to the exact moment when I have had enough. Unsurprisingly, that moment comes a lot earlier than I anticipated. I am choosing to be mindful in my daily life and mind-full with my food in three ways…

  1. I listen to my body while I’m eating and stop eating when I feel full. This means that I am trying to break my habit of eating while I watch TV. I am forcing myself to be present with my food.
  2. I’ve started drinking water the moment I start to think that I’m hungry. Then I wait 15mins to make sure that I am actually hungry and not just bored, thirsty, tired, stressed, or watching Gilmore Girls.
  3. I am paying attention to what I have eaten and what I hope to eat later– not in an obsessive way, but in balance. I balance the unhealthy with the healthy. I try to eat just a little bit of junk when I crave it, and then I call it a day. I don’t “give myself permission,” I give myself a deadline. I decide how much I will eat and how many other things I will consume around it. If I’m eating ice cream with friends later, I’m having chicken and green beans for dinner. That way I can eat ice cream in complete freedom (even splurging on a little extra if I feel like it), without future remorse.

It may not be a perfect plan, I am still working on it every day, but hopefully this new theory of mind-full-ness will lead to new fulfillment — or at the very least, some really great music.

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