This past weekend, I performed with my band Lucky Mint at a local venue. It was our third show since grouping, but only the first that I was fully satisfied with.
We had some minor technical difficulties, and there weren’t as many kids in attendance as we’d hoped, but what I remember most looking back on that night was how I felt on that small, off-centered platform stage.
I felt happy. I felt calm. I felt like myself.
I remembered how good it feels to do what I love and do it well.
I felt optimistic and excited, the way I remember feeling in high school, chasing dreams that held godlike significance to a 14-year-old version of myself.
But what I realized on that stage was how important those dreams still are to me, half a decade later, and chasing them still gives me a sense of self-satisfaction that I haven’t felt in years.
When my last band City of Giraffes imploded after high school, I felt burnt out. It was like a bad breakup where not only was the engagement off, but I was angry, bitter and pessimistic about trying to fall in love with anything again.
I told myself that my failed dreams and past feelings weren’t important anymore and that I could be equally happy doing other things.
I thought I could change what I liked most about myself.
I tried to channel my passion to other extra curricular-type activities and pushed myself to try pursuing paths that seemed to mean the world to others.
I learned a lot about myself and found other outlets that I enjoyed, like writing and journalism. But I still felt drawn to music, writing about local bands and artists for the majority of my articles.
I made great friendships and connected with like-minded people trying to find their way through life and balancing their passions with their profession.
I literally stepped away from the thing that brought me the most happiness and focused my attention for years on trying to find other things that I could love as much as I loved music.
But I never felt quite the same.
I inevitably found myself back where I started, but with a deeper understanding that it was where I was supposed to be all along: on that stage.
I felt the happiest that I’ve felt in years, and it was clear to me that those feelings were because I was doing something so deeply important to me. I think I’m not alone in that.
Many of us know what we like doing, and we know what is important to us personally in order to truly feel happy, but for whatever reason we try and push that away because we feel pressured to do other things.
But what’s the point in that? Why trade one good thing for another?
Life is too short to spend it running from the things that truly and deeply make you happy.
After last weekend, I know I can’t escape my obsession with music. It will always be part of me — a part of me I can’t ignore or change, and I like that. I don’t want to try and change it anymore, and I won’t.