Archive | April 2016

Why the change?

L.A. Skyline

Wait, this blog still exists?

Yes, this blog still exists, but it now comes to you from a different city. I’m writing this as my first post since relocating to the Los Angeles area. So, why the change?

The more I experience in my life, the more I am surprised by the growing number of sayings or adages I heard that I thought I understood, only to realize later they contained way more wisdom than I was able to comprehend originally. One such adage is, “The only thing consistent in life is change,” or some variation thereof. I used to think I knew what this meant. I had no idea.

The Good Life

About a year and a half has passed since I wrote a post on here. That’s plenty of time for change under any circumstances, and in these past 18 months, the changes in my life threw me around like a rollercoaster..

The biggest reason for the lack of new posts on Jdilley’s  Questions was because I seemed to be finding a lot of answers. I was excelling in my career as a copywriter. I was in several music projects and some of them seemed to be gaining traction. One of the bands I was in released an album, Mammatus, while another got a temporary residency. Both were booking private parties. I even got the opportunity to sing the national anthem at several events. Writing for work and performing at night sapped all my creative energy, so my personal writing, ie. this blog, took a back seat.

My personal life seemed to be going just as well for much of this time too. I got engaged, set a date, and booked a venue. Everything in my life seemed to be going well, but as you already know, things change.

Let the Dominos Fall

The pressure of an approaching wedding date seemed to cause the first cracks in the foundation of the life I was enjoying. My relationship with my then fiancee deteriorated and we called the wedding off. To keep a promise I made to her, I won’t go into any more detail, but that moment opened a floodgate of questions I had to ask myself about my life. The biggest one being, how can I trust my own perception if it could have me ready to commit to something that could fall apart so quickly? While that’s an important question, pondering it didn’t leave me with any actionable answers. However, other questions sprung up around it. I will explore those questions in this, and subsequent posts.

While trying to console myself after another failure in my personal life, I tried to point to the success I had in other realms of my life. Unfortunately, what previously felt like success, was now feeling stagnant.

After months of constant work and some great gigs, the demand for the bands I was in started slowing. Our residency was coming to an end and we didn’t build the following we had hoped. The other project was back to playing bar shows and, although the bar patrons, employees, and other bands always liked our shows, we failed to bring fans of our own. Singing to empty barstools grew tiresome and frustrating. Those are the perils of the Salt Lake City music scene. I will write an entire post about this at some point. The point being, finding the energy to stay dedicated to music projects with so little support grew more and more difficult.

I still liked my job. I couldn’t ask for a better company for which to work. But, that was strangely part of the problem. My work life was extremely comfortable. Although the work itself was interesting enough, writing sales copy isn’t exactly fulfilling. That’s not a problem when you find fulfillment in other areas of your life, but as I’ve already stated, the other areas of my life were not going well.

Time to Move On

With seemingly everything in my life turning stale at the same time, I found myself asking, “What are you doing with your life?” That quickly transitioned to, “What do you want to do with your life?” My answers focused around how I wanted to spend my time each day. But, that’s a difficult to define beyond the foreseeable future. I’m not sure what I’m going to feel like doing next year, next month, or sometimes even next week. Again, this didn’t lead to many actionable answers.

The next question that came up was, “What do you want to have done with your life?” It’s a small change in phrasing, but the connotation means everything to me.

As I get older, I think more about my legacy. I want to leave a mark on the world in some way, or at least try to do so. Asking “What do you want to have done with your life?” leads me to answers that resemble goals. Accomplishing those goals will help me create a legacy of which I can be proud. Working backward from those goals to where I am now, or more correctly, where I was when realizing all this, started to lay out a road map that provided answers to the previous questions.

I’m not going to blow smoke and say I have clear goals now, because that’s not true, but I’m so much closer to having them than I ever have been before. For example, I realized I wanted to have lived in more than one place for a significant portion of my life. I feel it’s necessary in order to understand how much of my perspective is because of my environment and how much of it comes from within. With everything going stagnant in my life, now felt like a good time to try a new city.

Change

I deliberated for a while about which city would be my new home, but ultimately I knew it had to be a place with lots of musical opportunities. I don’t have any delusions of instant stardom, but I love singing. I couldn’t stop doing it if I tried, so I might as well live somewhere with the potential for recognition or financial compensation for doing so. That narrowed the list of potential relocation targets to a handful of cities. As I imagined myself in each place, one kept stepping to the forefront. So, I followed through on something I had thought about doing since high school. I packed up my car and headed to Los Angeles.

I didn’t have a job lined up, (still don’t). I didn’t have a place to stay. I only knew two people in the whole city and we weren’t particularly close, but sometimes you just have to go. In the weeks leading up to the move, a lot of people told me relocating took a lot of guts. While I appreciate the compliment they were trying to impart, I don’t think of it that way. It’s uncomfortable and stressful, but I moved to a major U.S. city. It’s not like I was going to a third-world war zone.

I kept thinking about previous generations of people from whom many of us Americans are descended. Multitudes of people would board ships in Europe headed for the new world. They knew some of them would die on the trip. The knew they likely wouldn’t see the family members they left behind ever again, probably wouldn’t even hear their voices or see pictures of them. Yet, thousands took the risk, searching for a better, more meaningful life. Compared to that, a 700 mile drive on a well maintained roadway is nothing.

So, here I am, a few miles down the road of change and counting on more change to survive. And while what those specific changes will be is still uncertain, the one thing I can rely on to be consistent, is that change will happen.

Thanks for reading.

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