An Attitude Adjustment

A change is happening to me. Whether a good change or a bad one, I don’t know yet. It feels good, real good, in fact, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a good change. My lady, B, thinks it’s a good change, but she can’t be objective, as she’s going through the same change as I.

Here’s what it is, short version – we’re ceasing to give a shit about many things, things outside our daily existence that we have no control over. Sure, we all know that’s a fairly normal, universal resolution for most of us at some point in our lives. Hell, at times our very survival depends on it. But this one seems to cast a bigger net for us, encompassing many feelings and attitudes long held as personal goals to attain, many for the benefit of others. And that’s the big change I’m talking about.

Now, the long version…

I won’t speak for Betty, but I have reached the point in life where I not only stop worrying about what other people think, I don’t even care what they think. I don’t even care about their problems, beyond what I can help them with. Spent a good portion of my life working for and needing approval from those I respect. That’s over now. I am what I am, and the rest of the world can accept that, or go fly. You can’t imagine how freeing that feeling is for one who had needed approval for so long. I have friends who would laugh at this, friends who are confident in who and what they are, friends who “never gave a shit” as to what others thought. Unfortunately I was not blessed with that particular gene. So to finally capture it after a thousand years of succeeding and failing and sometimes suffering, well, this is a happy moment, a happy time.

Feeling and being carefree is a somewhat magical feeling. I know that to be true as I know a guy who told me he didn’t think he’d ever had a carefree day in his whole life. How sad is that? Probably half my life was carefree, when I wasn’t preoccupied with whether I was doing “the right thing” or not. There were short periods of what I might call Supreme Confidence, when I knew I was on top of things, and therefore not concerned with what anyone thought. But the doubts, questions and insecurities always weaseled back in at some point. And there lies the difference in today… the weaseling has stopped, it’s over. No more weaseling.

Now I can’t say I don’t care about the political crisis we’re experiencing here, but I can’t do a thing about it, so I “chop wood and carry water,” and find my simple happiness in that.

I know that life changes many of us over time. The longevity alone of a life well-spent will probably change one to a certain degree. I always have to laugh at the realization that when we’re twenty we think we know it all, and forty-fifty years later we realize we don’t know squat. Perhaps experience brings about change in us. All I know is that I basically feel the same, aside from the bumps and bruises of life and time, yet something is different now.

I have known and appreciated the feeling of what I call a “mini nirvana…” that wonderful space of time when we are so concentrated on what we’re doing, we lose touch with the outside world and all its (and our) problems. Playing music does that for us, as it usually demands that kind of concentration. Over the years my recording sessions did that for me too, took me away from everything that was swirling outside that recording room and focused me only on the music, and the process.

Now, however, I can sit here with my morning coffee, look around me, see Hemmie asleep in front of the fire, hear B in the kitchen, and that same magical feeling comes back. No piano, no music, no recording studio, just the knowledge of where I am, where I’ve come from, and what qualities my life holds today.  Right now. It is enough, hell, more than enough to bring on my near-daily mini-nirvana. And for that, I am, and will always be, so grateful. Just think, all that from simply not giving a shit!

Steve Hulse

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