I was updating my gig calendar last night and I didn’t really realize (or appreciate) how busy I have been in 2016. Recently, the thought crossed my mind that creatively I haven’t been accomplishing enough. I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that some of my projects are not moving along at an acceptable pace. Outside of the responsibilities that come from being husband, dad, and working professional—responsibilities which I embrace with gratitude and enthusiasm—I felt like I haven’t been approaching my artistic endeavors with an appropriate level of effort.
The simple effort of updating my gigography and upcoming shows this year made me realize my 2016 progress assessment has been dramatically skewed. Example: A big goal for this year was to return to performing as a solo artist, while completely revamping my catalog and my approach to the whole genre. Done. I was just too busy doing it to realize it. What’s more—is that I have been inspired to push the creative envelope even further when it comes to what I’m doing as a solo performer.
Each show on my calendar both in the past and upcoming doesn’t just represent hours of performance time, but also many more hours of gig prep. The end result, I’ve grown as an artist and a performer. Something all artists truly aspire toward. Another accomplishment that I didn’t notice
I started to wonder if maybe I’d been a little hard on myself. I have been guilty of this a few (thousand) times in the past. Let’s face it, most of us have had those internal dialogs consisting of “I’m wasting my time” or “I’m not doing enough” or “I can’t accomplish that.” Gigging aside, in 2016 I wrote more than just a few new songs and I am actively recording six of these tracks with Gravity Lens for inclusion into a full album. I’ve written and recorded several Mass R3lay tracks for inclusion in an upcoming electronica EP.
I even completed several commissioned music composition projects to rave reviews. I also had the great pleasure of fulfilling a major dream of mine—scoring music for film.
But probably my favorite on this list: I started writing a youth science fiction novel for my girls that I’ve been reading to them every night at bed.
But again, while in the midst of it all, it was hard to really see each individual accomplishment.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Since February, I committed to being the healthiest me I’ve ever been. To that end, I started a new and intense workout routine that sees me sweating at least 5 days a week in the early morning before work. The end result. I’ve shed more than 12 pounds since February and my pants no longer fit. I have more energy and I feel better than I did when I was 10 years younger.
I could even go on from here—I haven’t even gotten into our volunteer time with the school—but I’m not going to right now. The point is—I can go on (and on and on). Trust me when I say I that I am not bragging. There is a less here for all of busy souls.
Things get hectic in our daily lives while we are juggling working on life, supporting our families, creative projects, fitness, and everything in between. And when you are in the thick the action it’s hard to see the big picture. So, step back—you just might realize that you are kicking a lot of butt. And when you realize something like that it opens the way to kicking even more butts.
I am extremely fortunate to have a support system there to motivate me in the moments where I feel like giving up on the activities that some might call “the fluff”. We all have those moments. With artistic pursuits or even with fitness it is easy to ask “why am I doing all of this?” It would be much easier to crack a beer, melt into the couch, and play PS4 for 16 hours.” In those questioning moments, my wife is right there with the answer, because she understands even when at times I do it. I do all these things because it is who I am. All of these extracurricular activities make me a whole person and therein resides the value. As a whole person, I can give my full self to my wife, to my children, to my friends, my family, my job, and to my extensive project list. So, don’t give up.
Take a break now and then. Reward yourself. And then get back to it.
This is your life.