Reflections
  Monday, October 23, 2017  

Just when you think a year can't be any more significant...you find yourself thirty, expecting your first child, responsible for mortgage/renovation payments and unemployed. It's the kind of reminder a wise man OR a cynic might expect. Life can always be more challenging, but it's only as difficult as you make it.

The weight of the combined issues above was pretty heavy at one point, but the perspective that allows me to write about it now reminds me to lighten up. I'll use unemployment as my example.

I was working at a recording studio in downtown Boston. When I began, I was still working on the vague notion that I should "do something with music." It quickly became a job I couldn't wait to leave behind each day. Instead of focusing on my music, I was focusing on the end of the workday.

There was a point where I wanted to blame the job for my miserable experience. However, I really liked the people I worked for, and no one was holding me hostage to the job. I realized that it was my series of choices that got me to where I was. No one was responsible but me. While that was a great realization, I was very upset by my (seemingly pathetic) choices. How did I make so many poor choices?

Fortunately, that line of questioning led me to the answer. Rather than take you through the agony, I'll just tell you. I didn't have a plan...ever.

From way back, I've been striving to accomplish. In so doing, I managed to avoid having to really figure out, specifically, what I enjoyed. Get good grades so you can go to a good college so you can get a good job. By the ideals that suggest the previous sentence, I did all that. Nowhere in there did I find mention of challenge, enjoyment, fulfillment, satisfaction, happiness, etc.

I found through endless meditation that I like to solve problems. I took a long hard look at EVERYTHING I did given some free time--music, sports, computers, house remodeling, etc.--and that was my conclusion.

I was determined to understand why music could be both frustrating and rewarding and what that meant for me. I realized that the parts of music I really enjoy are the creative learning aspects. I love to build up the pieces of a song from the drums to the bass to guitar to vocals, but I also love to tweak the sonic elements in the mix. Once the idea is out, though, I lose interest.

My passion isn't in polishing. I like to create a song but not perfect it. I like to create cool guitar parts, but I don't like to play them repeatedly until perfect so I can sell records. Therein lie my frustration. I was trying to "do something with music," but I wasn't as passionate as I was "supposed" to be.

Basically, I realized that forcing the square peg into the round hole wasn't working, and I stopped pushing. When I realized how important it was to get out of the job I wasn't enjoying, I simply quit. I still didn't have a great plan, but it felt like the right thing to do.

As soon as I quit, the job opportunities rushed in to fill the vacuum I'd created. It was quite bizarre. I had been job hunting for nine months--six of them as intensely as I knew how. I got one interview. Two weeks after I quit, I had two offers in hand and a third lined up.

I learned that I really enjoyed software development, but I was doubtful anyone would hire a hobbyist. I was wrong. A consulting company eight miles from my house found me and surprised me with an offer. I accepted, and I couldn't be happier.

I've spent the last few months learning so much everyday. I can't get enough. As you can see from the website, I spend my free time doing what I do at work!

That joy has allowed me to live more fully in the other areas of my life. Music is flowing better than ever, and I should have some new material shortly after the new year. Check the Music section of this site periodically. Best of all, though, Libby and I are having the time of our lives. We have great fun together, and I am so excited to be a dad!

For now, I'm going to continue loving life until the next round of challenges. I know there will be many, but I can use my recent experience to remember to pay attention and listen to what the world is telling me.

Don't take anything I said too seriously. On occasion, I like to talk.

Want to rap with the Foster's? E-mail us at tlfoster1@comcast.net
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