Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 In Review

A muscle in my left leg contracts, and my leg rotates. Not painful, but not pleasant. It's like an electrode has been applied. My nervous system engages.

I am awake.

This happens sometimes. I glace at the clock. The small hours. I listen to the rain hammering the roof, and briefly worry about leaks.

I try to relax. This has been a challenging year.

My leg pulses again. I slowly, quietly shift in bed, seeking a position that will ease whatever nerve pressure is causing this, trying not to disturb my wife.

2012 started off with a death in the family and a new job. The job has been extremely difficult for all the wrong reasons and problems, and all of the things I've enjoyed about it (aside from my co-workers) have been peripheral.

My own attitude and approach are as likely to blame as anything. I continue to make the mistake of assuming the new thing will be just like the old thing. It never is. I let my emotions get the best of me at times. Perhaps I can't solve all of the problems at work, but that doesn't mean I should let it affect the rest of my life, or even my core sense of self and well-being while at work.

I need to stay mindful, and be less uptight. Care without caring.

But the job's challenge cannot be understated. In the 11 months I was there, I was on the road for more than 2 of them. Tokyo 5 times. London 3. Los Angeles more than I can count. Even Austin. It was grueling and exhausting. I think of the small pleasures of business class, the brain damaged feeling of jet lag, and remember writhing in agony all night with a kidney stone in Tokyo.

Work and its associated stresses contributed to my not completing an RPM album this year, a personal disappointment. I also wrote less than I'd hoped this year, but I take some consolation in believing that some of those writings were my best yet, or at least more widely read and circulated.

On the plus side, I received an award from TIP. "Reflection" finally saw full release, complete with beautiful book courtesy of Iran and James. My friend Sid Luscious played a few really great shows, including opening for Modern English at Cafe Du Nord.

The year concludes with a string of wonderfully calm days at home, allowing me to play games, read, sit in front of a fire, and regain a sense of humor and balance. I am shocked at how long it takes me to laugh again.

All in all, not a bad year. A minimum of drama, and the sort of problems I suspect most people would be happy to have.

I tell myself there's what I can control: myself. My leg twitches, reminding me that even my aging body is no longer subject to my brain, and has decided to push back after years of being pushed.

I can keep practicing my instruments and writing music. I have so many ideas for albums, and it seems so little time or drive to complete them. I got better at fretless bass this year, for sure. Even played a few songs at home with my lovely wife.

More importantly, there's what I can't control - everything else. I need to focus on me a bit. Take a deep breath. Think, but not too much. Everything, but not too much. I'm probably past the halfway mark. There's so much to do and experience.

The rain pounds. I try to appreciate the sound, find it soothing instead of troubling. It doesn't rain in San Francisco very much, and certainly not like this. I reach for the beauty of this moment and hold it close. Sleep eventually carries me to the gray dawn a few hours away.

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