Every loss is an opportunity to try again. Every failure is a chance to learn. Every time you don’t succeed is a magnificent time to rethink what you want, why you want it, then go for that goal with a fresh outlook.
I’ve failed a lot. As in fallen-on-my-face didn’t-want-to-get-back-up kinds of failures that felt awful. I’ve made albums no one wanted to listen to (including me), wrote stories no one read, performed on stages with no one there, and missed many chances to work on incredible projects.
But I kept going and evolving. Loss frees you. It opens up new things.
I was video chatting with my good friend Kat for several hours this past week. She was in the hospital having her fifth surgery because she has a yet unknown neurological condition. Four years ago, she lost most of the feeling and strength in her arms, legs, hands, and feet.
We’ve been friends for 25 years and that night while video chatting, I played and sang her music for many hours as we told stories between the songs. With all her loss, she has continued to fight and be hopeful that she will live her best life and write more stories of her own.
One of her stories is about me. She remembered the night I sat down at a piano at the Flying Elephant Bar in San Francisco in 1999. She had known me for two years and had no idea I was a musician. I had chosen to stop. That night, I started playing again. Kat said, “It was like hearing a dog talk.”
12 albums and 23 years later, I got to play songs for my friend from New Orleans to Oakland. Music she helped inspire and I hope it inspired her to write all the amazing stories she has.
Never stop striving, reaching, and trying. Write, play music, dance, sing, build, produce, create. There is so much beauty in the act of just going for it.
** This image features part of a photograph by Robert Polidori.