I wake, after a night disturbed by aches and pains. I think about the last 2 years. It feels like far more time and far less time than I could have imagined.
Last night, I rehearsed with the band. We have a show on Saturday, and are sounding good enough for it. My voice isn't what it was 2 years ago, but it is now good enough that I don't have to quit (at least, not yet). The band tells me it sounds great (even if they can hear the difference), but I have to work a lot harder and can feel which notes aren't quite there.
It is difficult not to think about how much has changed, but it is also not particularly helpful. Like staring in a mirror and comparing your body now with the body you had when you were 20.
Yesterday, I talked on the phone with an old friend. I didn't really think of them in that category, but realized on the call it had been something like 15 years since we had met. I also thought a lot about how many of my friends -- how many of you reading this -- are dealing with your own serious problems. Illnesses and injuries mental and physical, of yourselves and those you love. Employment issues. Personal issues. Financial issues. The difficulties and questions of mere existence, even. Life is short, and life is hard.
I picked up the guitar and tried to write a song. I have the ideas, I just can't get them out right now.
Last week was typical life stuff. Plumbers and things around the house. Job interviews. Therapies for body and mind. Exercise. I worked on some music. I saw a show. I spent time with friends. Not a bad set of days.
I wish I had done more, and I wish I had more time to do it. But I am also glad I did so little, and took advantage of this break that life is giving me. I am trying to be nicer to myself.
Time rolls by. I watched an old movie. I put a record on. I drank some coffee, or something stronger. Reached out to friends. Not a bad life, by any measure.
Last year, I struggled under dark clouds, which were premonitions of troubled times and things coming to an end. I was given the gift (or sentence?) of more time, and am still trying to accept it, embrace it, and appreciate it without conditions or judgment. The initial elation of survival and freedom eventually fades as the noise of daily minutia swells. You can get used to anything.
You don't have to look hard to find things to be upset or depressed about, and I would certainly argue we should all be concerned about "the world". But how much control do we -- you and me -- really have over any of it? Is it worth losing sleep over things you cannot do anything about?
You also don't have to look hard to find things to feel good about. After all, you're alive, you're here. In at least a few ways, your life is good, if not great (at least for now). Why not put a little more energy into focusing on those good things? Or at least on the parts of life you can control: the elegance of your behavior, towards others and towards yourself.
Today is Valentine's Day. A Hallmark holiday, and a kind of triumph of capitalism. But why not a day to celebrate love? A day when we look at others dear to us and say "you may not be perfect, but you are perfect for me and I love you". If we can say that to others, perhaps we can say it to ourselves?
I may be a little worn and broken in now, the perfection of youth scoured off by the sands of time. But that wear makes some things -- leather jackets, guitars, jeans -- even cooler and more valuable. Wabi-sabi. The dignity of experience. Survival, despite everything. Nobody said time travel would be easy.
I am still here.
Thank you for being here with me.