For some reason, I've been the beneficiary of tremendous insight in the last three months...so much that it's hard to keep track of it all. But it's helped me change my way of thinking and attitude so much that I'm starting to think I may have finally gotten the hang of this "life" thing.
It would take a very long blog to get through it all, and some secrets I don't want to give away, but this one piece of it I want to share.
When I think back on days I like to remember, one of the ones I come back to was quite a few years ago...a trip to San Clemente with a free-spirited young woman I knew casually from touring who blew into town and wanted to go see a musician I'd never seen before. I went along for the ride, had a wonderful time walking on the beach, dallying over Mexican food, then had my mind totally blown by the concert, so much so that it changed the course of my musical life. Then, at the end of the day, unexpectedly (but happily), we made love, and it was fantastic.
When I think back on that day, one thing I tend not to remember is that I was sick as a dog the whole time. I nearly passed out during the show, and it was all I could do to muster the energy to get through it all. I was physically miserable for every moment of it. And yet it was an awesome day, though as uncomfortable as I was, I probably wasn't totally aware of it while I was having it.
Yesterday I played Universal Citywalk with Norm Kelsey. On the way in, my cart hung up on the uneven pavement and sent all my gear flying. 7 keys were broken on my digital piano, which may or may not be reparable. I was also preoccupied with some unpleasant negotiations pertaining to a project I'm working on. And, I was suffering from abdominal pain that increased during the day. I had begun to feel feverish, and had to kill five hours between soundcheck and the show while I was feeling worse and worse.
Now, is that a bad day or a good day?
Let's look at the good things. I got to spend some good hang time with Norm's guitar player, Bryan, who's a great guy and real easy to talk to. We had a nice dressing room with a big couch where I could lay down and watch the ending of "School of Rock." There were many hot girls to look at, and a few looked back. And, of course, I got to play on a nice, big stage backing up a phenomenal performer to a very appreciative crowd.
Years from now, what am I more likely to remember? I'm thinking the show and the hang time, not the broken piano keys and the sore gut. What do you think?
Every time something bad happens to us, it's just as temporary as a good thing...and bad things nearly always have good consequences. In my entire fairly long life, I can only think of one unequivocally bad event that had absolutely no upsides whatsoever, and that was when my sister-in-law was murdered. As horrible and destructive as that was, that's one event in 40 years. Every other bad thing I can think of had a silver lining somewhere. A new skill I was forced to acquire; a path that introduced me to a new person that became important to me; experience that made me tougher and wiser and strengthened me for the long haul.
This may sound all very Pollyanna-ish. But when I was moaning on the dressing room couch contemplating not just playing a show but unloading all my gear and schlepping it back to my house with severe abdominal pain, and wondering if I was going to have to buy an entirely new piano...I still thought I was having, on the balance, a pretty good day.