Thursday, March 09, 2006

Elder statesman?

Is that what I should call myself?

Somehow I managed to reach age 60,
but I don't feel much different inside myself.
However, I notice that other people treat me differently,
and it's time I took notice.

I have to admit that I'm getting older.
People listen when I talk,
and they tend to be differential toward me.

I still feel much of the same angst that I felt in my youth.
Things over which I have no control,
like my daughter and the members of my wife's family.

But at this stage of my life, I'm beginning to think more about my legacy.
Knowing that the end will come some day,
and that I have only so much time between now and then.
So whatever Great Works I have in me,
I ought to get on with them.

Quick study, but...
In Nashville I can still play with anyone.
I'm as quick a study as they come,
and I can play just about any style of music.
Having grey hair here isn't a mark of death;
it's more a badge of respect.

But I observe that I'm always the oldest member of the band,
and that realization does take its toll on you after awhile.
Not in the sense of feeling any less capable,
but rather in the sense of wondering how long I can keep this up.

Retirement looms, again
It seems like I've been looking forward to retirement about half my life.
For years I had set age 55 as a target date,
but then a divorce set me back financially
and put me back to the grindstone for another round.

I realize that life is not endless, and neither is health.
I'm not trying to be morbid, just trying to be realistic.
I'm in great physical shape (okay, maybe 20 lbs. overweight),
and I don't suffer from any chronic issues.

But how realistic is it for me to contemplate retirement at age 66,
followed by a long career of touring in bands?

I mean, how many 70 year-olds are there out there on the concert circuit,
shlepping 200 lbs. of equipment from gig to gig?

What's in store?
Isn't it more realistic to think about a long career of writing,
traveling, photography and research?

Where is my window?
How will I recognize it when it comes along?


obxbill said...

I think you should really consider writing a book. Don't worry about the publishing and all of the other logistical bullshit. There are plenty of publishers who'd print your stuff. And people would buy it. I know I would for sure. I think you could incorporate quite a few things together when you look at all of the pictures you have from over the years and all of the journal writing. I tell you what, at the bare minimum you could put together a heck of a coffee table book with some awesome pictures and wild words of wisdom. I know this because you put together a photo album for me. Well it's a lot more than a photo album, it tells a story of a boy who started small and became me. Sometimes I find myself looking through it and feeling proud of myself and where I came from and who I am today. It makes me wonder what's next? It frees me of the past so that I can dream into the future. Thanks!

Genevieve said...

About the band --
Is it still fun, or at least in some sense rewarding, to play with the band? Are you still able to make a genuine contribution of talent and expertise? If so, you should keep on playing even after you do quit the day job. Older folks who keep up their music keep their good minds much longer.

RunAwayImagination said...

Wow! TWO comments on ONE post!

Thanks, son for the compliments. And yes, that is one of my fondest dreams - to write a book (maybe several) about my experiences and perspectives. I think I am in a rather unique position, because I'm a professional musician who is also a literate writer. I want to tell people the inside story of playing in bands. I've always wanted to explain it to people. It sounds very satisfying to think about being able to contemplate completely involved in creative activities, such as writing and making music.

I'm sure glad you enjoy the photo album. I had a good time putting them together for you and your sister. It would be fun to make a DVD using that material and incorporate the audio recordings I made of you guys. Let's make a project out of it and do voice-overs, etc!



Is it fun?!?!?! YES!!! When I'm playing music in a group (maybe just me and one other player), and we're really cooking, it's like you go from playing the music to the music playing you.

I find myself in demand here as a "live" and session player, and I always get high marks from people with whom I work. It's very gratifying to be thought of as a good player in a city with as many good players as Nashville. And yes, I think playing music has kept me young physically as well as mentally. There's something about doing creative work that keeps you going longer. Hey, maybe there's a book in that...

Thanks for your comments.