Fare Thee Well Ticket Stubs

So, I love music. I always have. My mother used to tell me that when I was little and we were driving in the car I would exclaim, “I love this song!” about every tune that came on the radio. I still catch myself doing that. Live shows used to be my thing. For a time it was even in my job description. But somewhere along the way I just stopped going. I could chalk it up to many things, however in an effort to truly NOT accept the fact that I’m getting older and maybe can’t keep up like I used to, I had this thought; my ticket collection.

My collection was kept in a big yellow tape reinforced shoebox. On the back of each ticket I would write a few lines—something to jog my memory about that particular show. I have always been a mad documentarian. My strategy being that when I was old and gray and just couldn’t remember anymore I could re-visit this time in my life and share a smile with my younger self. I had grand visions for the collection. Maybe framing them up or placing them in a glass cover for a coffee table or something. Proof of my former rock and roll prowess. Notice I am using the past tense…

I had just moved back to Atlanta in 2004. My stuff was still in boxes, never unpacked from when I moved away in 2001. But I knew where my ticket stubs were. I placed all of my boxes, full of life stuffs—memories, letters from old friends, and my tickets in the little storage house in our backyard. We had no history with our new abode, having just moved in, so who could have anticipated The Great Flood of ’04. The rains came pounding down, overtaking our little stream, then the lower level of the yard, then the middle level after that and eventually the little house. Water raged knee deep while we stood on our deck wondering how high it would go. That was it. Knee deep. That was enough.

When things dried out and we went through our destroyed belongings I thought, “Oh well, who needs papers from college anyway?” I felt kind of new age about it, almost relieved that I no longer had to carry around all this stuff. It felt cleansing to just let go. It took some time before I realized with a gasp, “MY TICKETS!” Just like that—gone. My custom mail order Grateful Dead ticket from New Year’s Eve 1990—gone. My 1988 Jane’s Addiction at T.T. the Bear’s in Cambridge—gone. My first Red Sox game with my Dad. You get the picture. As it slowly sunk in, I tried fighting the dread. I tried freeing myself of the urge for possessions. I couldn’t do it. It hurt too much. My whole musical landscape, my music history was no longer there for me to recall. I figure I had been to at least a couple hundred shows at that point. I saw the Dead 32 times alone. So, as I set out mourning my loss, I stopped going to shows. I just stopped without even realizing it. For a while, I tried to get back on the train, but it just never happened. Many moons and many missed shows later, the loss still stings. And in the meantime, there were too many other hurdles to jump, too many other losses to process, too many other concepts to wrap my brain around. On the rare occasion that I do go to a show now, I still absolutely love it. A reason to hope I always think as my heart starts to pound when the lights go down.

“Time Keeps On Slipping, Slipping…”

via Daily Prompt: Pursue

As I sit here on the morning of my 49th birthday, I couldn’t be happier that I decided to pursue my dream! Of course, losing my desk job was a decision that was made for me but ultimately it was the very best thing to happen for it gave me my freedom. At this age with all the trappings of adulthood, you don’t just walk away from a paycheck. Or at least, I don’t. So, getting back to my freedom. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing and I am grateful and blessed that I was given this opportunity. Yes it’s scary and yes it is uncertain but the funny thing is, in my mind, all I see is success. I can’t even picture myself at another desk, working for somebody else. I’ve always been able to picture that and now I can’t. I’m not going back. I’m just not. I am full steam ahead in making this work for me. Because let’s face it, 29 turned into 39, which turned into 49, with 59 next up. And on and on it goes, God willing. And at the end of the day, life is just too short. A classic cliche but not really, because it’s true. Blink and it’s over. Might not feel that way when you’re 29 but…hello the big four nine!

Pursue

Bitter, Party of One!

via Daily Prompt: Bitter

Bitter, party of one! That’s always been a pretty big joke among my circle of friends. And in fact, when I saw the Daily Prompt today I immediately broke out in a hardy laugh. It felt good actually b/c these last few days have been rough. Just general roughness, the ebbs and flows of life. I guess it comes with being passionate, the wanting more, to do more, to do better. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very grateful for all that I have. Blessed to be sure. It’s just that some days it gets so overwhelming that I go straight to grouch mode. When I was younger, my family called me Oscar, as in Oscar the Grouch, so I guess old habits die hard. Or maybe more accurately, biological makeup dies hard. In any event, here we are, chugging along on a Monday morning trying to shake it off and get going on a new week. Some days I feel more than alone in this world. I’m sure we all do. Someone once said to me “You come into this world alone and you leave this world alone” and it has always stuck with me because it is so very true. In the in-between however, it would be nice to have someone to tag along with. THAT someone. The someone who is always there for you. The someone who isn’t going to disappear on you to suit their fancy. The someone who will think of you first occasionally. The someones who don’t do that are just friends and as I’m finding out, its not their obligation to do those things. Those things are perks of having really great friendships, but, certainly not mandatory, although it would be nice. Anyway, as I was saying, it’s been a rough few days. I wouldn’t say I’m bitter, but I’m definitely a party of one.
Bitter

At the End of the “Day”

via Daily Prompt: None

None of it matters in the end. In the end, you are one breath away from moving on into the next realm and all the worry and the stress just doesn’t matter any more. I thought that as I held my Aunt’s hand as she was dying. She was 90. Ninety years! And everything she had done and experienced and seen was over in just one breath. I had never experienced that before and I’m not sure I want to again. Some days it plays in my head over and over and over again. Some days I handle wave after wave of grief. It sneaks up on me, catches me by surprise and I marvel at the fact that she is gone. As we move through life, we should focus on the good. The positive. And by we I mean me. Everyone is on their own trip here on Planet Earth. I’d like mine to be filled with calm sunny days, literally of course but also metaphorically. And when the days grind together and I can’t seem to sustain that, I think about my Aunty. Ninety years then over in just one breath.
None

Apprentice to my own Life

via Daily Prompt: Apprentice

I feel like an apprentice in my new life. Even though it’s kinda sorta my old life. I freelanced in my 20’s into my late 30’s and I found it the most exhilarating way to go through life. Especially in the film business. Every day was different. You were always meeting new people. You had exciting experiences. After a while though the Hollywood bullshit got to be too much for me so I switched gears to the music industry. Talk about bullshit! I was lucky enough to find a niche at a cool little independent record label where a well-oiled team of four made stuff happen on a regular basis. No egos, no drama, just a common desire to put out great music. Everything we did had aesthetic and it was magical. Atlanta in the 90’s itself was completely magical. I arrived on the cusp of the most amazing revitalization. The city was full of artists, musicians and totally creative people. It was lush with talent and charisma and I had never experienced anything like it. I’m assuming I never will again. Cynicism has caught up with me and try as I might, I just can’t seem to get around it. I do hold out hope, on certain days, that I will feel that magic again. In the meantime, freelancing 2.0 beckons with its seriousness and its bills and its weight. I’m glad I enjoyed 1.0 hardily because I absolutely did not think it would come down to this. Maybe I did, I don’t know. Apprentice to my own life…

Apprentice

Gray Gray Go Away!

via Daily Prompt: Gray

Well, another gray day here in New England. This happens a lot, depending on the year. More often than not I must say, but after all, they don’t call us “New” England for nothing! I think this is what makes us hardy. You gotta really want it when you live here. Most of the time, the weather is not our friend. It is the ruiner of cookouts, parades, ballgames, picnics, parties, psyches. The good news is the motivation. Once that nice weather window opens, you need to jump through with full force and capture each day with reckless abandon! Some years that window is wide, say, April to October. Others, very, very small. Late June to Late September. Seriously. Eight months of crappy weather? You gotta really want it. The best day of the year is the first really, really nice day. Everybody is out! Everybody. The birds are chirping, the squirrels are jumping, hoodies have been shed and the mood is so light you might think you’re not in curmudgeony New England at all! Oh, but you are and you must embrace it every step of the way. The good, the bad, the snowy. For if you don’t, it will seem like the never ending winter of your soul my friend.

Gray

Zipped when I should have Zapped?

via Daily Prompt: Zip

In my younger years it seemed a lot easier to zip around from here to there, place to place, job to job, reality to reality. I don’t know how it happens but a certain amount of inertia sets in as you get up there in years. In my younger years I toured around with bands, traveled like crazy and was always on the go. Then I decided that I needed to slow my life down because things were getting just a bit too crazy and while I didn’t feel out of control, I felt like the events happening in my life were telling me so. So I slowed down. And that’s how I learned the hard way that once you do slow down, ramping back up isn’t as easy as it once was. So now I am in a new reality that sometimes seems okay and sometimes it doesn’t. I am bored a lot. Now this boredom I place directly on me. Life isn’t just exciting, you have to make it so! Life doesn’t keep itself out of the ruts, you do. It is all in our hands, it’s just a matter of what we do with it.

Zip

Give In for the Win

via Daily Prompt: Harmony

Harmony is always something to strive for. I’ve been seeing a lot of great quotes on Twitter about “making the most of where you are” and “the happiest are the ones who work with what they have” etc etc. And it is indeed true. When you struggle against what is happening, wanting it to change, it just makes it harder to get along, to get by. I know for me instinctively, submitting always feels like defeat but it really isn’t the case. Sometimes, when you accept, which should not be confused with giving in, it actually helps you. Instead of struggling to change your surroundings, simply adapt to your surroundings and make them work for you. It is definitely a challenge but one that gets easier the more you take it on. Especially on a day like today, day 4 without the sun, the walls closing in and feeling all kinds of out of sorts. On those days you DO keep fighting. Keep fighting to get out of the funk and just do what you need to do to keep going. Whatever that may be. Blowing off your to do list to go walk in the fresh air, drinking coffee when you said you wouldn’t or curling up in bed waiting for the storm to pass. None of that is giving in. It’s just the path back to harmony.

Harmony

Do the Work to Stay Positive!

via Daily Prompt: Fry

Upon first seeing the word “Fry” my mind immediately went to the negative connotation as in “I’m feeling so fried”. I don’t know why because I’m not really feeling fried. Although, I am a little burnt out on dealing with the Admin of my life. It’s amazing how much easier it is when you have employer benefits like health insurance and the like. When you don’t, you are thrust into your own little world of H.R. making phone calls, filling out forms, checking and double checking. I must admit, that part I miss. The rest of it, meh. I guess there are pros and cons to everything. Just about everything has a good side and a bad. It’s just a matter of staying on the good side, keeping with the positive and allowing that to inform your vibe of the day, every day. It seems much easier to get down than to stay up. Sometimes staying up feels like work. If only that type of work came with health insurance, I’d be golden!
Fry

“All the Sugar and Twice the Caffeine”!

via Daily Prompt: Jolt

Does anyone remember Jolt cola from back in the mid-80’s? It was the first attempt at an energy drink and if my memory serves me correctly it was basically cola with massive amounts of sugar and caffeine in it. Having freshly arrived at college, this was instantly intriguing to me and all of my new found friends. College was so vastly different from high school that aside from the academic challenge I was hardly ready for it. Who knew staying up until 2am with your new friends meant you’d barely (if at all) be able to make an 8am class? Who knew that endless amounts of free time meant just going and going and going and then drinking some Jolt to keep going, lest you miss something weird and wonderful in all of your new found freedom. My college’s motto was “Expression Necessary to Evolution” and evolve I did. Freed from the trap of Catholic School, where the discipline, guilt and dogma weighed heavier than a water soaked wool coat, I finally felt the real me coming through. Finally I was becoming comfortable in my own skin, safely ensconced with all my fellow weirdos that I didn’t even know were out there the year before. Finally I could relax and just be me and it felt amazing. So, I certainly wanted to stay awake for it. JOLT!

Jolt