Rock. Band at a fun crowded club.

To Rock or Not to Rock—Being Open to Potential Adventures

How do you approach big life decisions?

Some of these may seem overwhelming and carry repercussions that can have impacts for years to come. You may obsess and worry over them and struggle mightily to come up with the “correct” choice. But ultimately, there is no incorrect choice, as everything you experience becomes part of your story and gives you insights into your journey and your path. Something positive comes from every decision you make—you just have to be open to it and allow it to become part of your experience. Regrets can also be part of a decision, but they are also part of the experience and can result in positive outcomes.

My most recent big decision experience is going on right now. I have an opportunity to potentially join a very accomplished band. All the members are very talented and experienced musicians who have been in the Baltimore music scene for many years. My brother Jimmy is also in the band, and it’s an opportunity to play music with him, which we’ve been looking for for decades. It’s a hard rock band with a great pop sensibility, and they are serious about creating fun, hard-hitting music and putting on entertaining, professional shows. It’s a harder rock band than I’ve ever been in before, so playing this kind of music would be a new and challenging experience.

But it’s a significant commitment.

A commitment of time, creative energy, and social energy.

With all of the transitions I have going on in my life right now, this is another one that makes this time more overwhelming and scarier. But it is one that is consistent with my goals and vision. My post-transition professional life will be part Blocks of Life (you may have seen some changes to the website, and more are coming soon!) and part music. I have always planned for the music part to be a combination of writing and releasing my own music and playing live. My original music is progressing nicely—I’ve explored several genres and have worked with a growing group of collaborators. Regarding playing live, I’m in a band now—they are good friends and I very much enjoy it—so this opportunity entails being in two bands. My live playing is something I was going to ramp up when I leave my current job as an economist with NOAA at the end of 2023.

But this opportunity is happening now.

The good news is that there is no wrong decision, only decisions with different outcomes. If I join the band, I will have two and a half years of having three jobs. Busy, yes. Overwhelming at times, certainly. Second-guessing myself, constantly. But the experience will also likely be fun, exciting, and rewarding if I keep an open mind and an adventurous spirit.

There will be times when I’m super busy, tired, and just don’t feel like driving two hours to play a 45-minute set in a crowded and loud club. But there are also times when I don’t feel like doing my “day job”—when I’m exasperated and overwhelmed with that work. There are times when I feel like doing nothing. In those times, I’ll do what I’ve committed to do, I won’t do anything I don’t need to do, and I’ll find the time to decompress when I can. As long as I have a full, enriching life, there will always be times like those.

As it happens, I haven’t been offered the spot yet. I may not get it. But if offered the opportunity, I have to do it. I can’t use “I might be overwhelmed at times” as an excuse. I will continue to play with my friends and, if it works out, play with this band also.

And it will be a great excuse to buy new gear, too!

Great opportunities come and go, but not that often. If an opportunity is unique and has the potential to make your life more fun, exciting, adventurous, evolved, or enriched, you can’t not do it.

Postscript: All of the above was written during a period when I didn’t know the outcome—a Schrodinger’s Cat situation of picturing two realities simultaneously, with two potential outcomes. As it turns out, I didn’t get the gig. I was brilliant in the audition (wink, wink), but the old bass player of the band came back. That’s life. But I’m glad I forced myself to envision the reality of being offered the spot and making my decision based on that potential outcome. It will help me with future big life decisions and keeping open to new adventures.

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