This week has been nothing short of emotional. As a graduate student, there are several “milestones” that are hit along the way. One of which I just achieved this week—successfully proposing a master’s thesis. After I passed, I was flooded with happiness, pride, exhaustion, and quite frankly, relief. This is something that I have been working on since I started graduate school 5 months ago. This was my aim—my first target. After I passed, however, I had a strange feeling of disappointment in myself. I was disappointed that I set my sights so narrowly on one thing. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s essential to have goals and aspirations, in fact, I preach it daily. The problem is that I didn’t let myself enjoy the ride. I was too focused on my goal that I couldn’t embrace the wonders that school had to offer (also something that I like to preach). This is something much easier said than done, and something I’ll aim to do through the rest of my schooling, and the rest of my life. No matter how sweet the destination is, the real joy should be the ride.
The same can be said for musicians. They work their asses of for their passion. In doing so, I can imagine they get rundown, stressed out, and feel like shit while they’re always striving to get to a goal. Whether that goal is to write a song, produce an album, or book a gig, I would wager their sights are set on that goal—where the majority of them won’t stop until they achieve it. I believe this to be a wonderful characteristic in musicians; however, I challenge everyone to focus less on the destination and more on the journey.
The (somewhat) same message can be linked to albums…humor me. When listening to an album (if anyone is still like me and buys whole albums), I don’t look for the “hits” and put them on repeat. I sit back, relax, and enjoy the journey the way the artist intended. This is a major problem in our society where the masses only care to hear the pop songs on the radio. Sure, the classics are great, but the deep tracks are the real gems. I am what some call a “parrot head.” As a parrot head, I thought that jimmy Buffett would be a perfect example. Jimmy is known for his silly hits like “Margaretaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and it makes me cringe when that’s all people know him for. There is a time and a place for those songs, but the real treasures are his deep tracks. I’m talking about the songs that most have never heard of like “We Learned to be Cool from You”, “African Friend” and “The Captain and the Kid.” These songs are a more accurate depiction of the pirate and poet Jimmy Buffett. I am sure most artists are similar to Buffett in that their unknown songs present a more accurate representation of who they truly are. I’m not suggesting that everyone up and changes their routines, but why not give it a try. What do you have to lose? Turn off the radio and play an album through and through—you never know what you’re gonna get! What I can promise is listening to an album in its entirety is an experience. One that everyone should experience. I feel sorry for those who get distracted by the cherry on top and forget about the rest of the sundae.