Hello, it’s me again. I know I’ve been away from the blog for a while. By now I should realize that when I promise I’ll write more often, I’m probably not fooling anyone anymore.  But I can promise I don’t stay away on purpose.  Tonight I felt compelled to sit down and write, so that must be a good sign.  Writing for me is often like songwriting and writing lyrics in that it uses the same part of my brain and sparks my creative side.  It also feels very therapeutic, just as making music often does.  So here’s what’s on my mind.

I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately.  This isn’t exactly something uncommon for me as I think about life quite often.  Probably more than most people do, actually.  But I’m not talking about life in the sense of “what happened today,” but more like the big picture, the point of it all, and the search for the real reason I’m on this earth.  It sounds like serious shit, and I guess you could say it is, but that’s the type of person I am.  A thinker, a dreamer, a person that’s always searching for meaning.

I can say with some certainty that the majority of the time my thinking about “life” revolves around my career and my music.  It revolves around contemplating which path I should take next, and reflecting on which paths I’ve taken in the past and whether or not they’ve made a positive or negative impact on my life.  Again, rather boring when I actually write out those words for you all to read, but it’s the truth.  The whole point of this I guess is that I think I’m at a crossroads.  A fork in the road, if you will.  If I think back, it feels like maybe this is the third crossroads moment already and I’m just nearing 26.

The first occurred when I was nearing the end of high school.  I was deciding on colleges and whether I wanted to go to a traditional four-year school or opt for something more exciting like a school specifically targeted toward becoming a recording engineer.   I chose the traditional path but it took me many many days of serious thought to arrive at that decision.  Once I made it, I felt confident and life seemed stress free.

The second was definitely just after college when the reality of the “real world” hit me like a ton of bricks.  It spawned my song, “What About Me” but it left me more than confused about what I was doing with my life and how I was going to find a career.  So for the next few years and up until this exact moment I have worked.  Worked at a full time job that I really never wanted to do, and worked endlessly trying to push my music out to as many ears as possible.  There were highs, some great moments where I felt my music was going in the exact direction I wanted it to.  And there were lows, some moments of pure disappointment when I wanted nothing more than to give up completely and fade away into a “normal” life.

The third may be happening right now.  Over these past few years of working full time I’ve allowed myself to believe I was doing it for the good of my music.  I kept telling myself that it was moving forward, it was almost there to where I could quit working on the meaningless job and finally pay full attention to my music.  I was planning and planning and looking forward to the day when I would clock out for the last time.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  That day never came.  As I neared in on my target date I realized I had no clue what I was doing.  Although I had plans, I couldn’t let myself live in the dream world anymore.  I had to be realistic and my fears won out.

In the midst of all of this I’ve been battling with my voice.  I haven’t really told many people about it because I think it seems normal to the listeners, but to me something is different.  I’ve been singing since I was five years old and as a singer your voice has its good days and bad, but something unfamiliar is happening.  Singing even short amounts of time have become very tiring to my voice and even talking has left it feeling worn and dried out.  Months back I went to an ear, nose, and throat specialist where they fed a scope up my nose and down my throat to look at the vocal cords.  There they found no damage.  It was a relief, but in some ways not, because I’m not yet feeling better and now can’t figure out why.  So, I’m going back in a couple of weeks to see what more I can do to fix the problem.  In the mean time I’m still singing, and as I said, many of you probably aren’t noticing a big difference, but before I do any damage by ignoring this unfamiliar “feeling” I have, I’m going to make sure to get it checked out further.

If an event like a voice issue for a singer isn’t enough to scare a person, then I don’t know what will.  However, I’m thankful that I’m still able to sing and hopefully all will be sorted out with that soon. But back full circle to the point of my life contemplation.  Where exactly is my music career going? At this point I’m honestly not sure.  It’s something that is so unpredictable and changes from day to day, sometimes minute to minute.  Again I have my highs and lows of emotions and overall feelings towards my music career.  There’s no handbook that lays out the steps to success.  It doesn’t exist and it never will.  It takes luck, the proper timing, and knowing the right people.  Therefore this contemplation often leaves me with more questions.  How can I get more involved in music and still meet my financial obligations? Is my push to make music my career actually becoming a burden to my enjoyment of playing it?  What exactly is the next move?  I’m still contemplating those questions and trying to find answers.

All I know for sure is I want more out of life.  I want to feel like I’ve given something to the world that’s worthwhile and that I’ve contributed in a meaningful way.  I feel I do succeed somewhat in that with my music, but I need to feel that fulfillment in the work I do on a daily basis.  Without it I’m left feeling unsatisfied and don’t feel like I’m actually making a difference.  I’ll never give up on music.  I can’t.  It’s flowing within my veins, whether I ever wanted it that way or not.  I can’t change that.  But the question becomes how long can a person wait for that “dream life” to begin?  Maybe I have another purpose that could be just as important to me as my music and I haven’t found it yet?

There’s life to live right now and I have more to offer at this moment than just my music.  I feel like I’ve got a brain that needs to be utilized, if only someone would give me a chance.  And what else am I good at, you ask?  I’m not sure.  I just know I love to learn so as long as I could make an impact, it could be a variety of things.  But it’s hard to search for a job when I don’t even know what I’m looking for.  I guess I’m just hoping some day it will pop out and scream, “here I am!”  But that’s not a fun search to conduct either when I’m blindly searching.  So for now it seems like I can only take one day at a time.  I can’t contemplate the big picture without getting lost in a mess of thoughts.  Yet just taking a day at a time leaves me in a spot where I fear I may not be bold enough to make a significant change.  I know there something out there waiting, I just need to find it.

I had a day long conversation with a friend last Wednesday and maybe that’s what brought all of these questions to the forefront.  He is a touring singer/songwriter that plays mainly college shows.  He mentioned to me that he’s been doing this for something like 10 years now and although he has made a living traveling and playing his music, he sometimes doesn’t feel like his years of toiling are paying off like they should.  To many on the outside it would seem like he’s living his dream, but sometimes money and making a living don’t equal satisfaction if your goal is to build a fan base, and you’re not feeling like you’re succeeding.  To feel like you’ve reached your goals is a feeling money can’t buy. He also has a wife back home and a life with her that he misses very much when he’s away.

I mentioned to him that I never want to feel like somehow I’m wasting my talent since I’m not a full-time performer.  He helped me to realize that even sharing my music with the online world is still sharing my music.  I’m still doing something worthwhile in that avenue even if I can’t meet face to face with the fans.  It might not pay my bills and maybe it never will.  Maybe some other purpose in life will allow me to do both it and my music and I can find happiness in both.  I’m not sure, but he had so much wisdom to share with me I’m still trying to comprehend and absorb all of the important points.  Yet when I think about it further, it seems he too may be at a fork in the road.  I guess maybe we all are in some ways.  I just hope I’ll know when and which way to turn when the time comes to move.  Guess you can’t say I’ve never thought about it. Now it’s just time to act.  😉

Thanks always for sticking by me.

-Ryan