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When Life Becomes a John Mayer Song

“I rent a room and I fill the spaces with wood in places
To make it feel like home…. but all I feel’s alone.”

I hate it when you’re winding down from a long week with a beer and a conversation with a dear friend and truth sneaks in and smacks you up side the face leaving a sting you can’t ignore. But then, truth’s always been a rude one. No manners, but great dramatic timing.

Since I moved to New York I’ve been busy trying to make a living, pay the rent, and make my way as best I can. And it’s been good, incredibly good at times. A fun job selling advertising. My copywriting biz is doing well. I’ve met a lot of people and I feel there’s a lot to explore here.

No, I haven’t been singing as much as I’d like, but that’s changing. I’m lined up to meet with a few jazz pianists and start rehearsing. I have a guest spot in a friend’s show in New York City, my first time on a New York stage.

So, life is good. And for the most part, I’ve been pretty dammed happy and optimistic here.

“So what, so I’ve got a smile on.
But it’s hiding the quiet superstitions in my head
Don’t believe me, don’t believe me when I say I’ve got it down.”

But I realize all this busyness and work has allowed me to avoid one of the things that brought me to New York in the first place. The desire to move my life AND my work into the world of music. Not necessarily as a performer, but as a promoter, advocate, marketer and supporter of musicians.

For years and years, it’s been my dream to help musicians succeed and thrive on all levels — financially, emotionally, creatively. But I’ve always gotten mucked up in the “how” of it. HOW can I fulfill this dream? What do I need to do to move closer to it? Can I do it and still make a living?

These unanswered questions and the familiar despair that accompanies them threw me into a funk that only provoked more questions:

Am I any closer to living my heart’s desire than I was when I living in California?

Is all this busyness bringing me any closer to my goal?

What the bleep am I doing with this one life of mine anyway?

“Am I living it right? Am I living it right?
Am I living it right?
Why, why, Georgia, why?

John Mayer was twenty-something when he wrote “Georgia,” the song I’ve been quoting throughout this post. The song that’s been banging around in my head for weeks. But I’m 52 years old and it bugs me that I’m still asking these questions. It scares me. My fear is that I’ll always be living the questions, never the answers.

“Cause I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdict-less life.”

But after a long bout of hysterical sobbing and watching old episodes of West Wing, and then attending to the mundane particulars of my life, my thinking shifted.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m not meant to do anything in particular. Maybe, even though I feel this strong pull to be drenched in music and help musicians be successful, maybe it’s just a thought, an idea, not my reason for being. Maybe realizing this dream is completely irrelevant to living a happy, productive, purposeful life.

And what if it’s not only okay but preferable to have a “verdict-less life,” to use John Mayer’s phrase. As trite as it sounds, maybe it’s not the destination (the verdict) but how you travel the path (the process) that makes all the difference.

“Everybody’s just a stranger but that’s the danger in going my own way.
It’s the price I have to pay.

Yesterday was a lazy day. And as I laid back and did next to nothing, I felt this overwhelming happiness. Not for any particular reason. Not because I was fulfilling my destiny or living my dream. Not because I had accomplished something or attained anything. I was simply being. Being happy.

And maybe being happy, regardless of what I’m doing, regardless of my work or location or circumstance, can be the verdict of my life.

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