“… an old guitar in my lap a new tune in my head.”
It’s an early night. The house is dark and I’m in bed for the duration, listening to “The Muse” by the Wood Brothers. It’s part of a small playlist I have on in the background as I am performing said playlist in a few days as the opening act of a anniversary celebration at a popular local open mic locale/nightclub. The cat is talking to me about her day, or possibly bitching me out for being out so much as of late – who can say.
As I lay in the darkness listening to the tune, my mind starts to go into overdrive recalling the events of the last few weeks. I had told myself that I needed to slow my pace down a bit a couple of months ago. The opposite has happened. Since just before Christmas, my life has a become a whirlwind of increased exercise, additional music opportunities, and more time spent with folks I care about. I’m struggling to process it all, take stock, and figure out how I can continue on this path of personal improvement I have firmly placed myself on… and then the chorus plays:
“Times like these so sweet and so true, Thinkin’s the last thing that you wanna do.”
It’s safe to say we all think too much. I personally just hit the official one year anniversary of my divorce (I’ve decided I have too many anniversaries marking annual events so I’m going to join the rest of the world and just stick with New Year’s going forward, but I digress…) Probably not co-incidentally, I have decided that I am at a place physically / mentally / spiritually where I am ready to explore the romantic side of life again. Not forcing or pushing it, but open to the idea of it. Big step – for me at least. There were times/events in the last year where I thought I was ready for it, but no, I really wasn’t. It feels better now, more real, more genuine. My friends – my darling, wonderful, caring, twisted friends – have been on me for sometime to get this in gear. Some have said to take it easy, using some bizarre formula of years married divided by the square root of how long you were with the person minus half your age plus 3. Others have simply said “Dude: You need to get laid”. Both arguments have their merits, but I am not going to overthink this. What happens, happens…. and the next song comes up on the playlist:
“Darling remember from when you come to me… That I’m the pretender, I’m not what I’m supposed to be”
I have no clue what I am supposed to be, but I do know what I am. In just the last couple of weeks, I have had the opportunity to play and sing with a bunch of different folks, in many different scenarios ranging from basements in beautiful homes to quick practices in stairwells that almost made me tear up, to collaborations “on stage”, to solo performances. All had amazingly special moments and all felt right and natural. People seemed to enjoy them all, which is wonderful and satisfying. I no longer feel that I’m the pretender in these situations. I belong here. Next track up on the playlist…
“I was just guessing at numbers and figures… Pulling the puzzles apart”
But some of my favorite moments in the last few weeks were “just” conversations. Talking about music performance in a hallway in a night club with a relatively new acquaintance who I have become quite fond of. Online chats with friends near and far. Discussing condo fees and the different types of mid-life crises with a group of folks I am super-attached to while watching a good friend sing his heart out at a local restaurant. Being thanked for being supportive and kind from one musician friend while listening to another musician friend sing her ASS off at a new open mic. Making dinner in my kitchen while discussing life with an amazing soul… and on and on. All of these moments required no effort, no guessing. They just were what they were. The less I think – the less I analyze and process life’s puzzles, the better life seems to get. Next tune comes up:
“Why am I so emotional? No, it’s not a good look, gain some self-control”
Yeah. This one is a challenge. To again rip off someone very close to me, I experience everything at 2x or larger. This is a lot for people to take. It often gets misconstrued, and often gets me into various levels of trouble. I am working on this, but I think that self-control thingy is going to be the carrot I never quite get to. Oh well – I’m ok with it. I have accepted this is who I am – who I am always going to be – and who I am meant to be. The playlist ends…
“Good love is hard to find…Good love is hard to find”
When I chose these tunes, I thought I did it for pacing, accessibility, and as a good way to start off a night of some very talented performers that have allowed me to play with them. It occurs to me though that something else was going on inside me… but this last song quote is actually not true. Good love is actually easy to find all around you – in many different forms. You just need to be open to it.