By Jon Berman
When things are busy and going well, dreams and plans (and family vacations!) are put on hold for a while. The day to day tasks of equipment upkeep, travel, and keeping to an itinerary in my world take over life for a few months and working as a team member to further the goals of a 12 person unit take precedence. As the summer winds down, however, my thoughts begin to return to the real world of furthering my own projects and begin to outline a plan of attack. And that I need to make coffee.
I rarely watch tv anymore; I only get to watch my favorite teams- the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots if they happen to be on the tv where we’re playing that night. I rarely turn on my computer. This column is being written on my iPhone, the pocket sized device which has become my tool of choice for pretty much everything other than actually performing music, hanging out with family and friends, and driving.
But that’s for work. When it’s downtime for fifteen minutes, I pull out a guitar or a book. There’s no such word as boredom because there’s always a lyric to write, a cover to memorize, or a chapter to discover. The list of books I want to read gets longer every year. And there’s so much to get inspired by, which launches a new flurry of songs, a new series of books by an author that I discover in my travels.
This summer has been one long adventure. It seems every week ends with an exciting story that I hope has been passed on to my son in a way that sparks excitement and joy of life in him. It’s sitting on a million dollar bus with someone I’ve looked up to and been inspired by for 13 years, and appreciating just how generous that individual is. It’s playing a show 500 miles from home to people that tell you this is their only moment to relax for a week and thank us for coming. It’s the excitement when all the unpaid work begins to be replaced with slightly better pay. It’s the moment your son asks if he can sit and play guitar with you. It’s hugging the boy the morning you get home after hearing about the awful incident in Colorado a couple of weeks ago.
I’m clueless to what sets people off, and obviously there is a combination of issues, circumstances, and stress involved, but (and without sounding like a hippie) I hope that people begin to find love more. I don’t mean finding a relationship with another person, or a material object of obsession, but more of… appreciation of opportunity. There’s going to be moments of accomplishment and moments of utter defeat. There’s going to be moments of reward and moments of desperate last minute “hail mary” attempts that will fall short. There is opportunity in the professional sense in whatever one chooses to pursue as an occupation, and opportunity to just enrich one’s life.
Life can be extremely difficult (see “FML” on various Facebook posts every day). One can lament missed vacations because of no time- or embrace new opportunities for a day trip to Mystic Seaport instead to hang with the family on an old fishing boat (and inspire me to reread Kipling’s Captains Courageous). I went to college for the wrong degree, which is now a useless piece of paper. But the experience led to many opportunities, and began a path that, while not always smooth enough to travel quickly, has enabled me to remember the smiling moments loving life when life becomes tough.
Find the love folks, and when life sucks, remember that moment. Get out a book to read before making any decisions. Pull out a guitar and pen your thoughts to paper and maybe discover a new song that may inspire someone else.
Find the love.