A year ago I found myself at a new level of an ongoing quarter-life crisis. Approaching my first winter in Seattle, I started to get weary of my ambitions and fell into an existential spiral of nihilism. The honeymoon phase of 'Ukulele Paintings was coming to a close and while I was more than happy of its reception and the enormous amount of support I got from family, friends, and even strangers, life came to a halt and restlessness got the better of me. I wanted to dig deeper and find why I felt this way when things were seemingly going well.
It was in those moments that I realized my perspective shifted to filling my life with the external. Observing my peers, I felt I was falling below the curve and lead myself to believe that I was wasting my time on foolish dreams. With the days growing shorter and the hum of grey in the sky, I let the things around me weigh me down. It's one thing to be bummed out on a bad day but to physically feel it sit on your chest is another story.
In a brief respite from myself in November 2016, I came across a handwritten document with "My Definite Chief Aim," written across the top of the page. Signed by a 28 year old Bruce Lee in 1969, the words were clear, direct, and honest. It shook me from my paralysis as I took out my own brush and ink to begin deciphering what I was really trying to do with my life. I let go of my usual mental filters and was just honest with myself as I begun to write my own Definite Chief Aim.
That honest moment has served me greater than the countless hours of comparative evaluation. I now keep a copy right next to my desk where I spend the greater part of my life practicing and teaching music. When I feel doubt, confusion, or even my spirit waver I turn to read it. Though today it wasn't enough to just passively absorb it. So on this anniversary month of its inception I decided to reevaluate it and compose a new copy. It's refreshing that I only removed one redundant sentence and got to see that my brushstroke had even gotten better over the year. It was the icing on the cake to keep trekking on and to not give up just yet. I'm proud to say that not only have I continued with a follow up release, The Spotless Mind, but have also started working on a new record to be released in the summer of 2018.
Today was a fresh reminder that answers often lie within ourselves if given the right amount of room to grow.*
*Unless it's spelling. Some of us have no hope in that realm.