In a recent post, I laid out my thoughts and plan for refocusing my time and energy at the start of this new year. So far, I’m pleased to say that, while I haven’t yet completely extricated myself from previous commitments I’d made, I’ve been clear-minded and steadfast in saying “no” more often in the last few weeks, with the ultimate goal of saying “yes” to some bigger, better and ultimately more impactful things.
Let me just say – it feels great.
On New Year’s Eve, I sent out hellos and wishes to many of the important people in my life, as well as asking what each was up to for their celebrations across the country. It sure can make a guy feel as old as he probably really is, hearing from most of your friends that they are staying in on New Year’s Eve, watching a movie, and going to bed early.
An exception among the hum-drum was Chad, who sent back a short text with an image:
I’ve always said … nothing conveys a fun night on the town quite like a picture of some kid you’ve never met sitting in the back seat of someone’s car holding a radiation-green, buck-toothed, neon-pink-eyed, franken-frog-rabbit plush toy.
Nothing like it, I tell you.
In the next day or so, Chad and I caught up by phone. He’d read and “LOVED!” that weekend’s blog post; and I, of course, had gotten the gist of his New Year’s extravaganza via the picture of the Franken-Frog-Rabbit Kid. But we had a bit of time and were in the mood to fill such gaps as remained in our stories.
I’m not much of a partier when it comes to New Year’s Eve. Instead, I’ve made a tradition out of staying home and investing time doing something I’d like to be doing more of in the year ahead. This is not a resolution, per se; it’s just a fun way to reassess and to start the new year off feeling ramped up and ready to go.
This year, while there are many worthwhile things I could have chosen as my New Year’s Eve focus in relation to the book and my goals there, my whole being was set on music for some reason.
For those of you who don’t know this about me, I’m also a singer/songwriter. In fact, I used to record and perform out, writing sometimes two or three songs a week for decades. (I even share some … er … interesting … lyrics from my early teen years in “Chapter 6: Happiness” of The Best Advice So Far.) But as time has moved on, my central focus has shifted to other things. Still, music is and always has been a huge part of who I am.
And so I was telling Chad that this year, music was my siren call. I found myself missing times past when I had friends in the area who owned studios – real ones, not just bedroom setups – and we’d hang out there for hours on end, dreaming, writing, playing with ideas, laying down tracks and, often, walking away with a song we’d created together. Even just thinking about it again now, I get that kind of longing that feels like bubbles rising in seltzer, spreading out through my soul: the longing to create something from nothing.
But those friends of yesteryear have all moved to other states now. It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than a decade since I’ve had the experience of collaborating in the live environment like that over music. So this year, as others were gallivanting shamelessly about with stuffed bucked-toothed companions, I was home searching the Internet for musicians and studios in the Greater Boston area, listening through their music and connecting through email or social media with those who seemed they might be good matches. Not only was this fun and inspiring for me, it was productive. I’ve connected with a handful of cool people and am hopeful that I’ll find myself in the studio creating SOMETHINGS out of *nothings* again soon.
Well, this is all very cool (at least for me). But I’ve not yet gotten to the really important bit – the part where Chad said something so simple yet so profound that it’s stuck with me since, guiding many a choice and conversation.