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Old Man

I turned 40. I've never been much concerned with aging, but this really affected me. Maybe because I assumed it wouldn't. I'm still moving forward, but I've had fairly frequent bouts of anxiety and sleepless nights. I've never feared death, I've feared not being done. I realize now one is never done and perhaps I actually have a very intense fear of death.

I can't really complain about aging and that's kind of a pain. All but one of my friends are older than me, so I just get the "yep, preaching' to the choir" or "Ha, just wait till you're 50." They aren't much help. I'm sure some things have been changing for me slowly for a while, but I also feel like I hit 40 and my warranty ran out. Things seem to just be breaking all the time now.

My life has never and will have a normal path. School, job, family, career promotions, retirement. Upon crossing 40 I've now really been forced to adjust my thinking, what does it mean to be an adult without the mile markers most people measure their lives by?

seanoldman
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Advice for Young Musicians

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Someone on LinkedIn recently put out a call for help with a project and I volunteered. The project was a question asking for advice to young musicians. This is what I wrote:

Don't be afraid to take chances when you're young. When you're 20 and have the energy and support at home is the time to load up your car and tour on the cheap playing everywhere you can, or travel the world, or go to college far from home (but take care of your health). By the time you're 40 life has a way of making huge changes more difficult, less likely, but maybe not impossible. I certainly can't stay up until 5am like I used to.

Be excellent in your craft. Practice with intent. Practice the hard stuff. If the only tool you have is a hammer, you'll treat every problem like a nail. If you're a rock guitarist, study some jazz. If you're a singer, learn an instrument. If your'e a trumpet player, learn some drums. Never stop learning.

Get a good job so you can can afford to pursue your own music. Yes, not the dreamy answer many want to hear, but honest. Only a small fraction of musicians get rich and famous with their original music, and it's always been that way. Having lived through the rise of the internet and the disruption of Napster, it's harder than ever to 'make a living' at music. It is, however, easier than ever, to make music. Do it because you love it, because your muse demands it. Be you and make no compromise, but be prepared for rejection, not everyone will like what you are doing. If unleashing your own creativity is important enough to you, you will weather the rejection and will know that you are the only person who can make your music.


Sometimes I think it's part of the human condition that we cannot take the advice about life we should when we are young. All that stuff your parents and grandparents told you, yeah, it's mostly true. But you won't listen when you're 20. It would be good if you did, but there's just something about us that insists we live through it before we understand it.
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