I was going to take the easy way out this week and spend my column inches discussing the Grammys and how much I despised the award show. Everything from the opening prayer to the lack of actual awards given during the broadcast; the mediocrity that is popular music in America to the contrived suspenders of Paul McCartney I’m so incredibly sick of seeing every time Sir Paul deems it necessary to sit at the piano, show how hard he’s working and how he’s just a normal guy that takes off his suit jacket, rolls up his sleeves and gets to work like the common man. I was going to but decided that would be too easy. It’s sort of like pointing out that jumbo shrimp is an oxymoron. We all know these award shows are nothing if not pointless and irrelevant. No, I decided against taking the easy shots.
Instead, I’ve decided to write a much more difficult sort of column. One that looks inward instead of out. As you know, if you’ve read this column since the beginning of the year and really, why wouldn’t you, I’ve said this is the year I’m going to be taking some leaps of faith. I have yet to determine what those leaps will be but am starting to figure out at least where and why I need to make them. If you know me, you know generally, I’m a pretty happy guy. Oh sure, I’m more anxious than most, full of energy and usually bursting with idea, but generally happy. I love my family, they make me happy, I spend more time laughing than not when I’m at home with them; I have friends I adore; I have hobbies that keep my fresh and active, and yet there are parts of my life that feel unfulfilled.
When I wake up every day I put on a suit and tie and go to work in an office building downtown. I meet with people wearing expensive suits and designer watches. The truth though is that I’m a fraud. I’m not a guy that feels right in a suit. When I put on a suit I’m putting on a uniform. It could be a uniform to work at a fast food restaurant. It doesn’t define me nor does it provide any feelings of pride, strength, etc. In the past I’ve thought, if I could just make more money then I could buy nicer suits and feel like less of a fraud, as if a nicer uniform was the fix to what ails me. When I was in college I worked for the food service company for the school. I worked fairly hard and moved up the chain in the company. Trust me, it never felt better to be cleaning grease traps because my hat and apron was nicer than another guy’s. My point is that clothes don’t make the man but the clothes help a man decide if he’s at the right place.
So, remove my family, when am I happiest, when have I been the happiest in my life? I know I’ve spoke about this before but I find my bliss when I’m writing, recording and producing art in a few different genres. I’ve always felt I had a talent for writing, I’ve been published a lot when I was in college and I’ve played in various bands for the last two decades or so. Miles Davis always talked about how the people in his band were able to play above their skill level when they played in his band. Only when I’m either writing or doing something with music or music production have I ever felt like I was working above my skill level. In fact, in most cases, I know music is a hobby. Writing and production are where I truly shine and where I truly do feel the universe working through me.
I know, why aren’t I working in either of those fields right? Allow me to explain originally I erroneously thought that you did what you did to make money and then followed these passions in your spare time. One only needs to look at any successful person to realize how wrong I was. No one is rich because of their profession. They’re good at their profession because it’s their passion which provides them the opportunity for material wealth. These aren’t the kind of epiphanies one typically makes when one has a wife and child counting on him or this early in their midlife.
The real question, the crux of the matter is, what do I do about it now? How do I find a way to be the guy that has the career he wants and makes enough money to support his family? How can I satisfy both my artistic hunger and financial goals? How do I find enough security to live the life I was meant to live and how do I go about stepping into that life?
I usually end this column having reached a conclusion. There’s a cathartic journey that takes place. This time I’ve reached no conclusion. I told you this wasn’t going to be an easy one to write. I know it’s time for my second act, it’s time for bold action, I’m just not sure what that bold action is yet. I guess if there’s anything that can gleaned from this column it’s that the Grammys, no matter what their ratings this year, sucked!