A Boat Without a Sail

2016 was tough. I came to find out it was tough for a lot of people. For myself and my family we lost people that year. Loved ones in the matter of a couple of months. Some tragically, some probably expected. I also had to put my 12 year old dog down, whom I had since a puppy. I also had my only son move away to go to college. And in turn, had an eight year old at home now, suddenly as an only child. (My oldest daughter had moved out a couple of years before). To add to that, I had to leave my good paying job I’d had for 8 years, which made it hard to pay bills. And so started seeing my house, car, my credit slip away. I was worried, but never really terrified. My doctor, the only doctor that could prescribe my ADHD meds, also left. Lots of things kind of came plummeting down. I can honestly say it was the first time that I felt I had no plan in life. No direction. I didn’t know what to do, what to be, where to go, how to stay. It felt much like being in a boat with no sail. I even googled countless articles. Asking Google, What do I do now? Google said nothing.

This went on for 5 or 6 months. Just having no answers. It was a strange feeling. Kind of like being a little kid and not knowing anything about the world. It was scary. So gradually I decided not to try to figure it out. I just decided to get through each day. Do mundane things. Pay a bill when I could, do the housework, play a board game with my daughter. Sort of wait to see if something sprouted up. Not that I was trying to be a couch potato. I was waiting, but I was alert. Then little things started happening that I didn’t consciously ask for. Music opportunities started happening. Small at first, and then a little bit bigger as time went on. Until I finally realized. There was NO WAY I could have worked on music as deeply as I am now with all of those other life things going on. Its like stuff sort of had to get out of the way to make it possible. I was still grieving about loved ones that had left, and still am. But it was more like an era was ending. And this dream, this dream of making music the center of everything could maybe happen now.? I had to go through the endings of things to make room for beginnings.

Being married to your Band

Yes you have heard it before. Being in a band is like being married to all of your members. Its absolutely true. I’ve been in 4 bands throughout my life. Not all at the same time but this has been true in all of them. Some band “marriages” are better than others. But in any case, its always an intense relationship. You spend countless hours with these people. (if you are doing it right) Sometimes more than you spend with your own family. You come to know the gross habits, their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses. And they will come to know yours. Juggling a lot of personalities can be tough. Especially when your goal is to create. Others on the outside will have a hard time understanding. They may get jealous. They may wonder why your band members lives come up in conversation. Its not quite the same as the relationship you have with co-workers in an office. Music is so much from the gut. And sometimes the only way to tap into it is to spill those guts, to each other, to your band mates. Because a lot of the time good songwriting comes from tragedy, or heartbreak. And so, naturally your band mates are going to know a lot about you, and you will know a lot about them. I think this is the part thats not always mentioned in blogs about, “being in a band is like being in a marriage” Songwriting requires sharing personal stories. And so you become very close to these people. That might be the toughest part for your non music family, like your spouse and children, to understand. But its part of the job. My advice is to keep enough personal stories that only your family at home knows. So that they can feel special too. But let them know why you have to share some very personal stuff with your band family…… because it makes good music.

What I always thought

I thought I would reach this great place, an end that would be the beginning of the rest of my life.

1. like once I fell in love
2. then as soon as I graduated high school
3. then it was when I buy my first car
4. or when I get married
5. then it was when I buy my first house

then it still wasn’t there….I kept wondering, when am I going to arrive?

Then it was… well… I thought maybe its when I have a baby? Yeah thats it! That will be a family, but as soon as each thing happened there was always this feeling of nope, this isn’t it yet.

6.Maybe its graduating from college?
7. and finally getting a career.

But each time I got to the new goal, there was always something else to shoot for. A line to cross. I kept wondering, what am I doing wrong? aren’t I supposed to be finally starting life now?
Although I was happy I kept thinking there was something that defines you as an adult. Ok. You are here welcome to the club.

Then I found a lot of other people that felt the same way. Like always obsessed with getting somewhere; but we’re here. Its only right here. There is no other place. But don’t feel discouraged or sad about that, feel good. Because it means you’ve already arrived. You did a long time ago.

People are always talking to you when you are young about growing up; that its the best. So it feels like there is some kind of prize at the end.

But the prize was always here. I didn’t realize I was already living. We are breathing and awake, that’s all it is.