Investing Money Courtesy Wikimedia.org

Status Notification: A Typical Situation in Atypical Times

This website is a “blog” in the truest sense of the word. It’s a web log; a journal; a record of progress as it unfolds. What you see is what you get. I have an endless amount of actions in the queue to be taken, and updates will be posted in the order of their execution. This is a journey that is just beginning, and I’m inviting the world to join in the procession.

A common theme of this blog centers around transparency. I’m offering an open and honest assessment of my trials, tribulations and triumphs, so that others may relate, help out or simply follow for fun.

I covered a bit of my background on the Author page, but I’d like to pick up where I left off and get readers up to speed on my current situation. This is about more than just being a musician, it’s about dealing with life, and working with what you have available until better arrangements can be procured.

What you have to work with depends on where you are, which is where my story begins…

A little over nine months ago I moved back to my hometown of Lafayette, Indiana, after a beautiful six-year stint in sunny Sarasota, Florida. If I had a dime for every person that asked why I would do such a thing, I’d be a top income earner. Indeed, the surroundings here in the heartland are far less idyllic. But I did have two very good reasons for this temporary sabbatical back home: family and money.

Family

Upon my return, I moved in with my cousin and his girlfriend, cutting my rent in half. This particular cousin and his two brothers are the closest thing I have to siblings on this planet. I get to see mom and dad whenever I want, after six years of sparse contact.

Quality time with parents is a precious resource. You only have so much of it. And when health issues are a factor, you must spend it wisely.

There’s a lot to be said for unconditional love. In fact, you can’t say enough about it. It is the strongest currency in the world. And I feel very rich in it right now. I am more surrounded by family than I’ve been since childhood, and it has lead to a better understanding of myself, my roots, and why I’m here.

I will be moving on soon enough, for long periods with little family to lean on, which makes this brief return all the more special. I’m bound to have regrets in life, but this time back home will never be one.

Money

As for money, this whole Musicianing project has been brewing and percolating in my head over the last several years, and for at least the past year, the end goal has involved some sort of extensive tour.

Tours can get pretty expensive, and the cost of living in Sarasota wasn’t doing much for my savings account. I realized I had to drastically cut expenses, pay off as much debt as humanly possible, and get to filling some coffers. So I headed back to Boilermaker country, found some decent work, and started preparing and plotting the next phases.

I landed a full-time job tending bar at night and a part-time labor gig in the day. Both my bosses are buddies of mine from high school. You don’t find many service jobs with full benefits, so all things considered, I feel like I’m in a good position to hunker down, save up, and get my ducks in line.

I’ve cleared the balances off four credit cards since I’ve been home, and that makes me smile. I’ve also managed to resurrect this blog, which has always been phase one, as it is the medium through which all other activity is conducted, documented and shared.

And now, my debt is down. And the blog is up. And that means it’s time for the next phase…

Time

There are a lot of ways I want to start living that I have yet to incorporate into my current lifestyle. I know what I should be doing, but old habits die hard. This is very much a personal process of learning, implementing, managing and maintaining that will gradually improve over time. I am by no means a model of self-discipline. I succumb to the same distractions and unproductive patterns as anyone else.

The goal is to develop a system of routines that lead to walking the talk as often as possible.

It all comes down to time management. We have no fewer hours in a week than any of the great minds that have come before us. They just spent more time thinking and creating, and less time doing nothing.

Let’s break it down…

There are 168 hours in a week. 56 of those hours are sleep. Between two jobs and a commitment to four hours of strenuous exercise, that’s about 56 hours of work and gym.

That leaves 56 free waking hours that I have available to spend on this blog, my music and booking tour dates. It all comes down to how I prioritize and allocate those 56 hours a week.

I’m an American, and we love us some entertainment. We all have our favorite shows and games and sites and apps and the movies you have to see. I don’t even have a TV, and I still manage to watch too much TV. It can make it hard to stay on task with so many shiny things constantly in our faces.

Time hinges on awareness of action. We either spend it consuming or producing.

Habits

Of course, resolutions like these are always far easier to say than stick to. Habits are nothing more than conditioned repetition. Commit to an action until it becomes automatic. We are creatures of habit, both good and bad, and we choose the ones we use. We have the power to change them at any time, all we need is the strength.

The two most foundational building blocks for developing habits that stick are a solid schedule and a motivational method of accountability.

I will be setting these cornerstones in place as of today…

You see, I’ve been preparing this site over the past few weeks, but I’ve yet to unleash it upon the world. Shortly after this post goes live, a second post will go up linking to a number of organizations I hope to collaborate with, followed by a flurry of emails sent to the contacts of said organizations. Then it’s on to some social media for what’s known in the blogging business as a “blast.”

There is no better motivation than having a site that people are actively engaging with, an inbox filling up with emails, and then realizing that everything is solely your responsibility.

Connection

Fortunately, modern technology has made the tasks of correspondence possible at any time or place. When connection is a big part of the work, it’s amazing how much progress can be made in small increments when you have a smart phone in your hand.

The trick is to maximize the benefits while avoiding the pit traps.

Distractions are abundant and relentless on the internet. I joined Facebook the day it hit Ball State campus and proceeded to check back nearly every day after that for a decade. As is the case with many Americans, I was hooked on social media.

My first few months back home, I actually took a break from the internet. When I tell people that, most appear utterly baffled.

The truth is, I just wanted to see the world from the old perspective one last time. My leave from the web was partly to analyze my online addictions and observe our evolving social trends with a conscious eye, and partly because I knew such a lengthy logging off would likely never be possible again post-launch.

Speaking of that launch, I reckon it’s about time to get it done. I’ll see you on the other side.

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