Happy April. May I interest you in a beautiful record called April ?
Let’s talk about expectations. And how to not have them. But how not having them doesn’t translate to giving up. Let’s talk about gray area. Because after all, most of life (or mine at least) seems to hover in and around the gray area.
The other day, I finalized a potential track listing for my next project. Six songs that I think are my best. They flow well. The idea is there! But wait. I don’t have a budget. And even if I did, should I really be spending everything I make on an EP that may not garner any attention or revenue? These were my thoughts the day after I finalized the track listing. As soon as the track listing came together and a wave of excitement hit me, almost immediately, the doubt, concern, frustration, and anxiety hit me with an even bigger wave. I felt incredibly discouraged. I love these songs and all I want to do is make music but I just don’t see how I’m going to fund the thing. And even if I could fund it, would it benefit me in any way? Would anybody really care? I don’t have a manager, booking agent, marketing team, any kind of consultant… I wouldn’t really be able to promote or release the project with any strategy or momentum.
So I sat in my bedroom and literally sulked like a child for a while. “You are wasting your time with music. It’s time to throw in the towel. You can’t afford to get this thing off the ground yourself and you have no potential investors and no industry connections.”.
I thought about taking a nap before work and sleeping off my sadness. But instead, I went for a run.
When I finished my run, I felt completely different. I felt better. I realized that things aren’t going to come together on my time the way I want. I realized that it’s okay to live in the “i don’t know”. It’s okay to live in the gray area.
Okay. So I’ve been taking a deep breath the last few days. Yes, I’m eager to get started on this project and find a rhythm, but I also have no expectations. It will either happen now, soon, later, or never. And the amazing thing is that it really doesn’t matter. It feels like it matters. I feel like I need to get into the studio, but I don’t. Who fucking cares?
If I continue to stay active, proactive, healthy, curious, engaged, then I will continue to find my path. That path may lead to this EP, but it likely will lead to something else. Maybe I’ll end up writing commercial jingles. Maybe I’ll manage and book acts for a small venue. Maybe I’ll work in the restaurant industry for another fifteen years and just jam with folks, go to shows, and live without such ambitious goals. Maybe the path will lead me back to formal education. Maybe I’ll be a small business consultant. Maybe I’ll manage a band. Maybe I’ll be a roady/merch boy for someone.
It is necessary to be positive and to strip my mind of any expectations. It’s really my only way of moving forward. Can you see how this is completely different than giving up? No, I have no clear idea about whether or not I will release a project this year. I don’t know if I will “accomplish” anything as an artist this year. But I believe that I can step into a natural groove if I give up my expectations. I believe that positivity and flexibility can lead me where I need to go. Anything can happen. Maybe nothing will. It’s okay either way.