Could 2020 be the most important year of your life?
I read something on social media to that effect recently. The post suggested that 2020 could be the “best” year of your life, which I found unsettling. People have died. People have really suffered. The word “best” just didn’t resonate with me.
But the most important?
I know a lot of people are depressed this year and it’s getting worse as the days get shorter and the pandemic gets longer. Several of my musician friends are struggling badly. I’ve had anxiety. Many of the things people love most have been taken away and it’s incredibly difficult to deal with. For my part, I’ve lost a whole calendar of gigs that includes two tours in Europe.
And that's what makes this maybe the most important year of my life.
Confession: I've found it very hard to hang on as a full-time musician. That probably comes as no surprise to anyone in the biz - it's hard for anybody to make a living in music, though I know people who do. There have been times when I've questioned whether I could continue doing it, but music has a funny way of pulling you along. There's another run of shows in two months. And then a tour in the fall. I can survive until then and I'll reconsider after that ....
I've known for a long time that I have to face the prospect of changing my relationship with music. I've known that I may have to go back to a day job and focus on something else. I was able to push all of that out of my mind in spells when music was still happening, but now it's gone and here we sit, facing the music.
But you know what? That's a good and exciting thing.
2020 has forced a lot of people to think about what's really important and adjust to things that are no longer as they were. Some certainties have been lost, and while that might be uncomfortable, maybe those certainties weren't very comfortable either. Maybe some of us needed to at least consider making changes, but couldn't find the courage until the pandemic forced our hands.
I come from the public relations world. One of the tenets of that world is that every crisis presents an opportunity. If that’s true - and in my experience it is - what opportunity is there for you in this suddenly different life? What does losing one dream mean for pursuing another? Does losing music mean digging further into a podcast or getting a job that gives you some much needed peace of mind? Does losing a job mean finally having no option but to start a business or train for that thing you really want to do?
Do cancelled tours mean it’s time to buy a school bus and convert it into a mobile home? That’s what my dear friends Deni Gauthier and Sarah Smith are doing. Who knows if they would have taken on that challenge if not for Covid?
Or has losing what you love the most only committed you even further to pursuing it when the world comes back? I've felt that with music too. I've felt a deeper sense of gratitude for the experiences I've had. I've felt a deeper yearning to push further when the opportunity comes along. That is also a product of losing what's been lost.
All of that might make 2020 the most important year of my life.
Anyway, there’s a lot of food for thought on today’s episode. There are also recommendations of podcasts featuring Jim Fortin and the wonderful Ram Dass himself. I dabble in spirituality, but those gentlemen bring genuine experience and insight that has helped me and can help you.
I know this is a controversial one, by the way. There may be strong reactions to it and I understand. I’m still fumbling along looking for silver linings because I think looking for silver linings is more useful - and less painful - than staring at dark clouds. I also know that a lot of lives have changed in horrendous ways and I’m not trying to gloss over the fact.
Now, if you’re a fan of the show who just needs a smile today, I'll close with the illustration that my dear friend Angelika from Austria did for me, as referenced in today’s episode. Thanks for listening!