Wow, I’m 54 today. Who wudda thunk it? It sounds so old and yet I still feel so young inside. Carol Burnett shares my birthday–she turns 79 today–and I thought about the age difference: 25 years. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time to me. Only 25 years. I think some varieties of Kim Chee are aged longer than that.
The idea that 25 years doesn’t seem like a long time is strong evidence that I am older. When I was 25, that span of time seemed enormous. I do miss the optimism that is inherent with being a young adult. The sky is the limit. Anything is possible.
Middle age ushers in a rude awakening. The LIST of dreams is now longer than the time left to pursue them. It’s time for triage. Of all the forks in the road that still occur to this young brain, many are now closed. Some I would have liked to pursue back when I had the chance.
Occasionally, I catch myself wallowing (too strong a word) in regret that I did not choose a full-time music career. When I was 21, I put such a life on hold in order to learn some marketable skill that I could “fall back on” and also to keep me out of the front lines of a war with Iran that seemed to be looming on the horizon. (It was 1980.) A career in computer programming offered stability and security, and I met my wife at college while I was getting my degree. The computer gig never became the fallback option but would up being the full-time deal.
Now that I am finally pursuing a full-time music career, I am increasingly aware of how much catch-up work I have to do to get established in this business. Unlike my “lifer” music contemporaries, there are networks that I have never established and industry skills that I am clueless about. I also realize how much I don’t know about music, too. Like, I’m finally getting around to learning how to play jazz standards, getting the licks down to improvise over II/V progressions, and developing piano-bar chops. Learning how to orchestrate is another skill I never acquired, which became apparent when I arranged the song “Ascent” on my Passage CD. I am very happy with how it turned out, but it was a lot of trial and error.
My regrets are about the likelihood that I am running out of time to pay all of the dues required to be fully functional in this business. These regrets are tempered by the relief that I still have computer consulting work to truly fall back on when I hit slow periods, like 2012 when my music sales have all but evaporated. (That’s okay. I’ve got some new stuff coming out in a couple of months.) And I have the wherewithal to be more selective in what kind of music work I do, while other people I know have to do everything and anything that comes their way and are still not able to afford health insurance (or rent). So I am counting my blessings and they are many!
Wow this blog post took a real serious direction, at times even solemn. I had meant to describe all the ways that I still feel like a kid inside. Like the fact that, like most 13 year old boys, I still think farts are hilarious. But so did the judges on Monday night’s episode of The Voice. They’re all in their 30’s. Let’s just face it: No matter what age you are, farts are just stinking funny!