Tis the season to celebrate. The season gives us permission. Do we need permission?
It’s important, no matter how old you are or how far you advance in your career, to celebrate milestones – all the wins large and small. It’s important to remember how much each positive moment means.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race. To forget to celebrate. Easy to just think about the dates you gotta book. The album you’re trying to get out the door. How tired you are. How many emails are flooding your inbox. The fact that you still haven’t booked a hotel room for next week. The drive ahead. The people who are annoying you.
We force ourselves to soldier on all the time. We hold out for the big win to celebrate. We tell ourselves we shouldn’t get our hopes up. That we have to stay strong, keep a thick skin. Prepare for disappointment. Only celebrate when it’s in writing. Only celebrate when it’s definitely happening. Only celebrate when it’s a confirmed thing.
In this business, we are pretty much always prepared for someone to let us down.
What good is that?
Lately, I celebrate when someone calls me back.
I celebrate when someone agrees with me.
I celebrate when someone is moved by a song.
I celebrate whenever we get close. Or closer than we were yesterday.
Come ON people. Celebrate.
Do that little dance in your seat because you finally got a reply from a music supervisor you sent your music to last summer. Bob your head and giggle like a child because the venue you’ve always wanted to play is thinking of booking you. Be proud of the fact that you were considered for opening for someone amazing, even if you didn’t get it.
As you progress in your career, sometimes the achievements that were exciting to you early on can start to seem insignificant if you don’t stoke your fire for them. We live and work in a community that has gatherings, conferences, festivals and awards. These will take on different meaning to you over time, as you grow. Do what you can to court your original enthusiasm for them. Keep the child in you alive. Remember what they are about. Celebrate them.
Too often we train musicians and professionals in our community that in order to be cool or show progress, you have to get bigger than the things you used to do. You have to distance yourself from your previous accomplishments. And sure, I suppose there may be instances in which that’s true – that perception matters in certain circles. But you know, times are changing. We now have a full generation of music listeners who have experienced the discrepancy between stardom and accomplishment. A generation that has watched celebrity be challenged – and humbled – by technology.
I don’t think anyone can argue with pure, authentic celebration. It’s more becoming on an artist than acting too cool to be somewhere or do something. Don’t become that jerk who thinks he/she is too good to be somewhere. That doesn’t look flattering on anyone. You don’t get brownie points for brooding. If it is important to someone, it should be important to you. See it through their eyes and celebrate it.
Celebrate more. Your creativity will thank you.
There’s something Garrison Starr says in a song on her new album that is really ringing true with me lately.
It’s never gonna be the right time
It’s never gonna feel like a good time
No it’s never gonna be the right time
When you’re really tryin’
Not when you’re really tryin’
from “When You’re Really Trying” on “Amateur” (comes out in early 2012)
That line “it’s never gonna feel like a good time” has really been sticking with me day-to-day. Because she’s right. When you are really trying, and achieving, it doesn’t always feel like you are. You keep thinking – oh when this or that happens I’m going to really stop and celebrate. When we get to the top of the mountain, I’m gonna have all this time to party and take in the view. It’s gonna be awesome. All my friends will be there. We’ll have a party.
But it doesn’t really work that way.
When we get to the top of a mountain, we see another mountain to climb.
That is the way of the achiever.
So why not celebrate the steps along the way?