Before I get started, a quick note… when all was said and done, I made out surprisingly well on my 2010 Christmas wish list! I scored a Dirt Devil, a Mouse Rug, and a calendar… as well as an amazing Marr/Rourke autographed Shoplifters 12″! One of the best holidays I can remember from a loot perspective.
I know I say it every year around this time, but this seriously must have been the fastest year of my life. It seems like just yesterday I was down on vacation in L.A. and playing a TCB show in Seattle for New Year’s. And here I am again, closing in on another New Year holiday. Last year, I know I had meant to do a “2009 in review” type blog, but guess I didn’t get around to it. It’s too bad, because there was a killer link to share which of course I never got to: the now-slightly-less-relevant decade (2000-2009) in review from SFGate. Still a great read down memory lane (when you’re done reading this of course). Anyhow, I’m not going to do a full “2010 in review” as I have sometimes been known to do in the past. But I will sum up some of the things I learned over the last year or so, mostly about myself:
- I spend too much of my life (time, effort, money) trying to be clever.
- I need to give up Clint Eastwood as a de facto male role model. That quixotic idea of a quiet, mysterious, stranger… it only works in spaghetti westerns and romance novels. Which is to say that it looks good on paper, but in practice it just makes you seem antisocial. I need to be more outgoing, because there’s no glory in keeping to yourself all the time.
- There are a lot of immature people out there. Both women and men. It’s not worth wasting your time, though that isn’t always immediately apparent. But in the end, they don’t have their shit together, and they can’t be reasoned with. In that regard, I feel like I know very few actual “adults.”
- However, even the people you love are not perfect. If you expect perfection or even absolute consistency from your closest friends and family, they are bound to disappoint you. And if you expect or demand absolute consistency from yourself… well it can cause a host of mental issues that I can personally attest to. So maybe the best you can do is strive to be as consistent as possible, allowing that you are human and can have conflicting emotions… and will not always act consistently… and will not always do exactly the right thing… and will not always be totally impartial and fair or even kind. Despite your best efforts to be consistent, you will not always succeed, no matter what kind of priority you place on it (see #8 below). But you can try your best and hope you get the same integrity from the people you let get close to you. Without exception, people have character flaws and shortcomings. People get confused and clouded by their emotions. People have moments of weakness. People make mistakes. Even your favorite people. And yes, even you. It doesn’t make them evil. It just makes them human. (That’s not a free pass for anyone to do anything without consequences. Which is hard for me to reconcile, because it complicates the process of distinguishing friend from foe. So how do you judge? Just by intentions? I don’t know yet.)
- Life is hard. Every time I think I’ve got a handle on it, something new comes up and turns it all on its head. And each life problem, health problem, relationship problem that I thought I’d never have to deal with (because I was too smart, too careful, too lucky, etc.) finds a way to impact me after all. God knows what else is in store for me over the coming decades.
- Speaking of the coming decades, here’s something to think about that is so commonly heard that you (like me) probably just ignore it. But take a moment to really ponder this: how many things have you put off assuming you have time? Any one of us could die today, tomorrow, next week… and you can bet the last thought in your head is going to be all the things you now regret never doing while you had the chance. Realistically, it’s hard to throw caution to the wind and lead every day like it’s your last. But think about what you did yesterday. Now think about how differently you would have spent yesterday if you knew you would die today. Surely you can incorporate some of that into how you spend today. I don’t know about you, but it makes me want to stop being so damn scared to put myself out there creatively, to travel, to try new things, to love without reservation. What the fuck am I protecting myself from? I’m very fortunate… I could have been born to the Vietnam era and never made it anywhere near age 30. I feel I have a responsibility to make use of the time I have here. A safe life could be a life unlived. I mean given the choice, do I want to be buried with 1) lots of joys and sorrows or 2) little of either?
- I don’t do well with serious illness and mortality. I always feel this tremendous weight of being expected to have some reaction that I almost never have. It makes me feel like a sociopath. Detached from humanity a little bit. At first, I didn’t wouldn’t even discuss this with my own family because I was afraid even they wouldn’t understand. It’s not that I don’t feel it. But when things like that get to be too much, like a circuit breaker, I shut it off completely. And then I process it slowly over time. It’s just my way.
- If there is any value in the Enneagram system, I am unquestionably a “Type One” (possibly with a “Type Nine” wing). I hesitate to put all my eggs in that basket, and I know it’s not the be all / end all. But if I’m being honest, I was sincerely moved by how true most of the Type One stuff rang for me. Here’s hoping it helps me to understand myself a little more…
2010 was an amazing time to be alive, don’t doubt it for a second. To explain… I’ll pick a random year of our lives. Say 1994. Think about that year. It’s amazing to have lived it. You were there for the one and only 1994 there will ever be. The one history books refer to for this or that event, the one future generations will wonder about, the way you do when I say 1969 or 1776 or 82 B.C. The year 1994 was every bit as unique and significant. When I say “1994” what do you think of? I think of the friends I had then. The school I was attending. The house I lived in. The events, the births, the deaths, the way people dressed, the popular music, and the movies that came out. The people I lived in the time of. And think about it: you were there. The one and only 1994 for all of history. And you were there for the one and only 2010. And you’re about to join me in being an equal participant and witness in the first and only 2011. And that is amazing.
My New Year’s resolution remains — as always — to get an original music project off the ground. But there’s good news on that front. The rockabilly band I’ve been woodshedding with finally has a complete lineup, with an inaugural gig as early as February. Stay tuned for details! While I don’t have anything I’ve written officially on the docket yet, it’s only a matter of time. I hope. The related quote of the week comes from a shocking source.
“You have to dare to suck to be great.”
— Ricky Martin