Sunday, September 28, 2014

Turning 40

My midlife crisis happened early. It was shortly before my son was born in 2008. I was about to turn 34 but felt a decade older. A couple of years before that, I had just bought a house and decided that I needed to put music aside and focus on the adult concerns of working, paying off the mortgage, investing wisely, and making the most of what I could while I had the chance. The band had drifted apart and I wasn't really that focused on writing any more new music.The novelty of having a number 1 song on the local charts of the country's hit radio station with TragiComedy had worn off. It was no big deal. I was grateful my glorified hobby could pay itself back but most local bands with decent recorded material had a chance to get on air back then. I'm just glad my father was impressed with that one decent royalty cheque that I received.

To cut a long story short, the midlife crisis was basically me giving up playing and writing after going through the whole cycle of releasing an album and playing the same few gigs promoting it. My guitar was put in storage from late 2006 till early 2008. In hindsight, I can't believe I didn't even touch the guitar during that time. That period felt really long at the time even though it was less than two years. It was like watching paint dry. Quite depressing. 

Only when I found out  my wife was pregnant with our son, did I start turning things around. I realised that I would need things I could share with him other than just materialistic stuff. What better thing is there other than music? That is when I started playing again, with more enthusiasm than ever. I even started putting in the hours learning new techniques and trying to do what I do a little better. For a guy who never touched a guitar unless he was writing something, it was a huge change. Nothing beats inertia and depression like focusing on something other than yourself. Learning to record on my own was also another liberating step. No more studios. I can do it all at home now and it costs nothing because I play every instrument and arrange the live drums on my own. 

Today, on the even of turning 40, I realise that in my mind I will always be the 14 year old who would rather sit in his room all day and play the guitar. You can never get bored doing what you love. Coming up with new stuff and trying to turn it into a song is second nature at this point. It is a neverending thing. The well is deep and I will continue drawing from it. The great thing is these days I get to share it with my boy. He's 6 years old now and loves music and writing as much as I do. Sometimes he walks around with a notebook writing down lyrics of songs that he likes and asks me how to spell words certain words that he's unfamiliar with. Chip off the old block, he is. I used to do the same thing.