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Keep truckin’ – A Review of 2014

December 17, 2014

When 2014 emerged from its 2013 cocoon and sprouted its own uncanny wings, I could sense right away they were beautiful – only the kind of beauty found in ugliness. You had to sift through, squint your eyes, and study it to find it. I knew I was in for a long year.
I remember telling my roommate in one its first weeks, “I’m going to need you this year.” I could sense something was brewing, though I wasn’t exactly sure what. At that point, I was confused, and doubting my reason for being in Portland. I was working a job that was taking everything out of me, probably malnourished, sleep deprived, and increasingly becoming a chain-smoker. My only saving grace was the time between calls that I spent at home alone writing songs.

2013 was no cakewalk either. It was the toughest year of my life to that point. A friend once told me that the darkest year of your life is the year after you graduate college and move to a new city. I really can’t argue with that. On paper, 2014 should have been more difficult. There was more going on, and more tangible “bad stuff” happened. What divided 2013 from 2014 though, was an absence of community.
For most of 2013, it was a struggle to find good friends outside of 55 SE 78th Ave. Charlie and I were spending too much time together and we began to drive each other insane. We almost had a falling out at one point, but we remembered how we moved out here together and that we were on a mission, so we stuck it through. For much of 2014, we helped keep each other sane.
I just got back from visiting home back in Wyoming in early January, ready to turn a new leaf like so many of us often are with a new year. Charlie had met someone a few weeks before who said he was willing to play drums for the band I was trying to start. I was skeptical. I had heard it before. Us millennials tend to be a bit flaky anyway, but the people Portland seems to attract are particularly flaky. Just ask any guy who’s tried to set up a date with a girl he met at a bar or house party.
Turns out, the drummer had a roommate who played music too. I went over to their house with Zach and Denver, the guys I had been playing and writing songs with and we started jamming. We hit it off instantly and played an open mic two nights later – we killed it. Having not known each other for more than 72 hours and experiencing that, we could all sense the potential.

Twelve months later, my acoustic guitar (my most prized possession) has been stolen along with my external hard drive, (basically) my mac book air, and my only pair of good shoes; my car has survived two fender-benders; my amp broke down on me; I went through three different shitty jobs (and that’s all I’ll say there); and as I’m writing this there is no water or power at my house. It was a struggle just to stay afloat all year, living paycheck to paycheck, and at times I was barely able to keep my breath.
I’m not telling you all of this to make you feel sorry for me or to complain. I’m telling you this because despite all of it, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve thought I hit my last straw time and time again. I about packed up and moved home more than once, or got in my car and left everything I own behind to go anyplace else. But I stuck through it. Every time I thought I hit my breaking point, I would say a prayer and there was enough energy waiting for me the next day. I kept my feet moving like Marshawn Lynch getting gang tackled. If I go down, it will not be because I stopped trucking my feet.
There is not peace without war. There is not light without darkness. There is not laughter without tears. There is not creation without destruction. There is not bravery without fear.
Our generation is soft. We like to find things to complain about, to stress about, to feel sorry about, etc. but the world does not need any more of that.
Our ancestors fought wars, worked night and day doing shit they hated, battled disease, and so on to get us where we are now – and here we sit and complain about doing anything that isn’t fun. We throw what little money we have around to serve our own selfish needs.
We are the generation of ingratitude.
I’m tired of my own stagnation. I’m tired of waiting for help. I’m tired of losing. I’m tired of feeling lost, isolated, and unhealthy.
The world has so much to offer us, right where we stand. All we have to do is open our eyes and reach our hands out and grab it.
Focus on your brothers and sisters standing next to you.
Serve them to the best of your abilities.
Stop wasting so much time!
The world needs us to step up.
Quit being so goddamn selfish! Nothing improves through selfishness. Don’t get distracted!
The times are a changin’.
It’s up to you to make the world a better place.
Whatever makes your heart beat and your blood boil, build its soil – cultivate it and share it.
Love your neighbor as yourself. The meek will inherit the earth. Love your enemies.
Quit settling on your weaknesses. Challenge them.
Whatever you are afraid of, attack it. Run toward it and overcome it. Have faith and you will prevail.
We cannot understand everything, but we can accept everything. The more we self-destruct, the more hell becomes reality – here, now.
Be thankful for what you have. You do not have to be here at all, but you are so toughen up and keep truckin.
Help your fellow man when you can. Accept help when it’s offered.
Do. Not. Settle.
If you are not at war, you’re losing.
Heaven is a place on earth. You just have to choose it.

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