How Lucky Are You?
As I sit here gloomily contemplating the relentless pea soup humidity that rubs its muzzle into every corner of my top floor apartment (thanks, T.S. Eliot), wearing as little clothing as decency will allow and blasting Hum's Downward Is Heavenward CD at top volume, I wonder, grimly, what the hell happened to the refreshing snap of cool, dry air that gallantly ushered in September 2005, only to be rudely bum-rushed out the door by a most unwelcome comeback of summer on its worst behavior?
Of course, I have no business whining about feeling a little wilted by some damp weather, considering what the citizens of the Gulf Coast have endured these past few weeks. After all, I've still got a home, all my guitars and my cat, don't I? My health, my friends, my music, my livelihood -- they're all still here.
Maybe I should consider just how lucky I am.
I've been living in the great city of New York for over nine years now, and I've managed to cobble together a comfortable existence as a full-time artist. In the grand scheme of things, I have very little -- almost nothing -- in the way of material wealth. But from just playing music, I pull in enough money to pay my bills, eat well, go out drinking way too many nights of the week, buy enough CDs and books to sustain my imagination, and travel to far-flung places to get a change of scenery once in a while. And I don't even have to wake up in the morning!
In the past year I've danced in the clubs of London, explored the ancient ruins of Rome and sipped multiple espressos in Florence. Just this Wednesday night, while throwing back cocktails at the Tainted Lady Lounge, my friend and I spontaneously decided to go to Berlin for New Year's Eve. And just like that, the decision was made -- we're going to Berlin. The money I'll make in the next week will pay for the airfare. How cool is that?
I can even afford to go overboard once in a while; last year I spent over $600 on Madonna concert tickets alone. Sound indulgent? It was indulgent -- and worth every dollar. I am fortunate just to be able to think about doing shit like that.
I've got an astounding number of top-notch friends, and the group grows every year. I'm surrounded by super-smart, supportive, sincere, colorful, wickedly talented, incredibly funny and inspiring humans. Their drive makes me want to be better; their intelligence makes me check myself daily; their integrity helps me maintain my dignity.
I play in the most deadly rock band in NYC. You better believe it. JB, Glenn and Clancy and I have an incredible synergy as musicians and we're lucky enough to be great friends on top of that. We played a show last week that was positively nuclear; the energy between the band and the audience practically ripped the ceiling off the venue. Beautiful humans come to our shows and sing along -- every word -- to songs I wrote in my apartment. How many people can claim that? It is a blessing.
I've got the greatest roommate ever -- Dario! -- who I love dearly. He brings daily doses of sunshine and positivity into my life. I never get tired of hanging out with the man. My other roomate, Buddy, is perhaps the coolest cat in Brooklyn. She (yes, a female cat named Buddy!) makes me smile and laugh every day, when she's not out back in the courtyard having adventures and torturing mice. When Buddy looks up at me and utters one of her soundless meows, it always cracks me up.
I am healthy, knock on wood. I've never had to buy health insurance, thank the lord (imagine how much money I've saved!). I've never needed glasses, or regular meds, or therapy of any kind. Lucky me. Alot of people are born with medical problems that they are forced to deal with for their whole lives. I just got some fortunate DNA, that's all. I'm grateful for that.
My family is awesome. I've got two parents who are still married and who completely and proudly support their three strange children. My brother Tim just started his own business in California and has a gorgeous five year old daughter named Kaley. He is a talented singer and guitar player. My sister Jenny is a bad-ass professional surfer living in Costa Rica. She and her boyfriend just had a baby girl named Alana this year. All are healthy in every way.
My life is pure freedom -- every single facet of my existence is governed by me. No one tells me what to do. My freedom to express myself is unlimited -- I am a full time, walking art project. This is what makes me want to wake up every day; I am living my dreams.
The world being what it is, complaining is easy, all to easy. The challenge is to remember why your life is so great. It is tempting to get jaded and cynical, yes. You have good reason to be angry -- your fellow man can be terribly disappointing at times.
Keep your anger but, as much as you can, keep your optimism, as well. Be always mindful of why you're lucky. I'm telling this to myself as much as I'm telling it to you.
I do alot of bitching on this website, but now it's time to do a little celebrating.