I vividly remember my AP Psychology class in high school. The main reason I remember is because my teacher was so very inspired and impassioned with the subject. I loved going to his class, where I felt that my presence was valued and I was almost always pleasantly surprised by the information I gleaned from the session.
He told us about all of these terms that had been coined for everyday phenomenon. Some were more mind-blowing that others. I remember one time thinking, “well, that is so obvious. I could have coined that term,” when he told us about the “tip of the tongue/TOT” syndrome.
There was another I found fascinating, and it was demonstratedby the flushing of a toilet. As you are gently putting pressure on the handle, there is a moment where you have to commit to flushing the toilet and pass the point of no return. At this point, the toilet will definitely flush, and there is no going back, even if you let go of the silver handle.
I feel that I am at this moment in my musical career. I have left the security of a permanent job with the government to pursue songwriting full-time. While it has not been as lucrative as I would like as yet, I have to remind myself that barely two months have passed since I left Lowell bound west for Arizona.
There is no going back now, however. I can’t afford to move back, for one thing. Also, I don’t want to go back. I may not give myself enough credit for following my dream, and I may also worry about how little income I am bringing in. But I am all in.
I am not simply wading in the water. I am diving in, head first. The water may be deep, but I am strong swimmer. I have goggles to help me navigate my oft-murky course, but I will use my arms and legs to propel me forward.
I am reminded of a song that got me through my first summer in Lowell.
This summer I went swimming.
This summer I might have drowned.
But I held my breath, and I kicked my feet.
And I moved my arms around.
Moved my arms around.
This past week, my business partner and dear friend Malcolm has been out in Arizona, diving in the water right beside me.
The notion of being “all in” came to me during one of our conversations while driving through the desert to a destination.
“I think unhappiness can stem from saying you accept a situation or person with all the reality that comes with it when really you are hoping things might change,” I said to him.
I was thinking about my own relationship with my partner, where it had taken me several years to come to terms with his fervent desire against having children. He had already raised two on his own, and the thought of going through it again was simply too much for him.
It was not until I really spent the time empathizing with his experience and giving myself permission to imagine a life free from progeny that I was able to accept and even relish in the life we could have together. I know now with certainty that our connection, however strong, would not have survived had I moved out to Arizona with the hint of a hope that he might change his mind about having more children somewhere down the road. I would be setting each of us up for disappointment.
Being “all in” is becoming my modus operandi these days. It involves being present, walking in other people’s shoes, communicating what I am truly feeling, and honoring what is rather than hoping for something different.
Sure, I have many moments where I grimace when I see the great feats other musicians, writers, and scholars are accomplishing that I have as yet to do. However, I am working on reflecting on all the change I have created in my own life these past few years, being thankful for the people who have nurtured and supported this change, and paying homage to my own spirit and success.
The water may feel cold at times, but there will be no wading for me. I am all in!