Feel of the moment:
TL; DR: Despite my occasional grousing to the contrary, 2015 turned out to be a pretty good year for me. See why.
I am a little annoyed at IFTTT for not informing me that my WordPress channel was off line. Therefore, you guys did not get to see this beauty that I posted to my Instragram account on Christmas day, when we were in Chemnitz for a few hours on the way to Berlin.
As I stated in the description of this picture on my Instagram account, Chemnitz, during the DDR days was known as Karl Marx Stadt, which explains the is humungous bust in the middle of town. Given my family history over the past almost 100 years, I am rather proud of being able to get away with this bit of Photoshop tomfoolery, the sort of thing that might have gotten me arrested had I been anywhere in the Eastern Bloc back in the day, and should this technology have existed back then.. Marxism is an idealistic refuge easily corruptable by basic human desires, and, frankly, needs. At the end of the day, people really don’t want equality. They want fairness. Marxism is as about as fair as capitalism. But I am digressing.
2015 was, for many people, a terrible year. It wasn’t just news of the constant terror threats, the personal witness to the people fleeing their countries because all sides were against them only to show up in a host country feeling unwelcome and harrassed all over again, the fear, and almost reality, that what happpened in Paris could happen here. It was also the things that touched my friends far away: loved ones dying, losing their homes due to greedy, psychotic landlords, losing employment, etc. It would be easy for me, and it was a temptation for me, to state that while I didn’t appreciate the experience while living in it, my life in 2015 was not horrible, it would be unfair and inappropriate for me to not look at the bigger picture and say “Whatever successes I had in 2015 pale in comparison to the struggles many had to overcome in the last 12 months.” To that end, 2015 was probably the first year where I tried to use my art, and my conscience, make this place called the world better. Whether I succeeded or not is not the issue. I made a concerted effort to be a part of the overall solution rather than the problem.”
So, hopefully without sounding as if I am tooting my horn a little too loudly, I accomplished the following in 2015:
1) Released a single for refugee relief.
2) Started taking my German a little more seriously after reading this article on Humans of New York about a former refugee in Austria spending 16 to 17 hours a day learning the language, until he was told that he spoke it better than the natives, and given citizenship. I don’t have 16 to 17 hours a day, but, given how long I have been here, 2 to 3 hours should be fine. I start my mornings with a 45 minutes on Duolingo, another hour on Rosetta Stone, I have 90 minute classes twice a week at Inlingua here in Munich, and I downloaded a bunch of books on my Kindle which teach German via reading. I need more practice, but the inlaws have noticed that I have become WAY more conversational than in the past. Which is good.
3) Decided to take my music to the next level by following some advice I had given to a couple of friends of mine and a) upgrade my “studio” so to speak and b) start some accounts on music submission sites such as Music Connection, Music XRays and Music Clout, as well as start entering contests again. So far, the results have been rather interesting , and I will detail them in another post.
4) Started to take my music marketing a bit more seriously, by putting together a mailing list (which I haven’t used yet as there are a few things I need to figure out how to do so I don’t look like I am a spam artist), updating all of my sites, including this one. Hell, I updated it again, for 2016. I frankly like this new template better, don’t you.
5) Did lots of traveling. Went to England proper (not just London) for the first time, and also went back to the States to visit family and friends. To say that I got some much needed perspective back after going on these trips would be an understatement.
6) I started doing some kind of journaling everyday, or resolved to do it everyday, via various schemes, such as a daily gratitude, a 5-minute journal, posting a picture, just SOMETHING to create some further positivity in my life. Even though I didn’t put something down every day, I did do enough updates so that it was starting to make a difference in my attitude and outlook on life. At this point, I think I can pretty much accomplish what I can set out to do, as delusional as some of these goals may seem. Which, again, I will deliniate in another blog post.
7) In relation to number 6, I tackled my one song a week challenge in ernest last year. I wish I could say that I was successful in this endeavor, but there was a two to three month break I took over the summer, and getting back into the swing of things turned out to be rather difficult. Still, I was able to either start or complete, at last count, 41 songs last year. I haven’t been this productive since my 20’s, when I pretty much just wrote lyrics, and just made up melodies as I went along, given that my guitar playing was crap, and that there was no music making software available at the time. I have further challenges I wish to complete this year, but…again…they will be foretold in another blog post
8) This last part is rather gross but it is really important. I may also regret posting this publicly, but hell, you all have seen me write of more personal items in my life. This is just as vital as any.
I finally, FINALLY, hit menopause.
The last few years of my life have been peri-menopausal hell. There were these constant, extreme, mood swings; running into my office at work, shutting the door, and bawling over the most idiotic slight; my blood pressure went through the roof; tolerating any sort of disruption to my schedule or life change with the subtlety of a mack truck. Except for the blood pressure medication, I did not take anything to deal with this, as I figured that this was just a phase, that I needed to learn to control it, and that this, too, shall pass, and frankly, HRT is a bit of a crock. I finally hit a wall this past summer with the monthlies (don’t ask – it really is gross), and they appear to have stopped all together in October. It feels really good to go through a day, a week, or even a month now without wanting to punch someone in the face, usually someone younger, for merely disagreeing with me on something. These days, the meds I am taking include Vitamin D and iodine (which apparently everyone here takes, due to this area being so far from the sea), as well as the blood pressure medication. I also need to excercise more, as I have spent too much time in the last four years surfing and doing (some) writing.
But, as with everything else mentioned above, approaching that bridge to be crossed will be done when I create a new blog entry.
So, this was me in 2015. I consider myself lucky in that many things turned out the way that they did. I am bracing for some changes in 2016. They may be life changing. They may make some lifetime dreams come true. They may a culmination of various “careful what you wish for” moments. Frankly, ALL of those would be nice. I could use some, or a few, or a lot of, star making moments in my life right now, even if they cause some momentary discomfort (seriously, who doesn’t).
And I wish, you all, dear readers, many star making moments in 2016, as well.