I spent most of yesterday watching John Mayer on Youtube, as you do, and I came across a video of him speaking at Oxford University about music and his career. One thing he spoke of really stood out, and it’s something I feel is very relatable to life.
Mayer was talking about career musicians and how it’s important to recognise that as an artist, not all of your work is going to reach number 1 on the charts or be ‘life changing’. He described musical careers like a heart rate monitor in a hospital, beeping consistently as time goes on, but if you zoom in on a singular moment, there is an extreme high followed by an extreme low. If you zoom out however and look at the bigger picture — an entire musical career — it usually remains very steady, beeping along at a forward moving pace.
This is true of life. As time goes on, so does progression, even though it may not be instantly recognised, and different periods of life generate different highs and lows allowing people to feel euphoric at times or deeply depressed at others. I know this is true of myself and I have realised that the more busy I am, the more happy I generally become because I feel like I’m living life to it’s fullest potential, whereas when things slow down I tend to over-contemplate and question my progression, leading to dark and negative thoughts.
It’s ridiculous to live so far in the future and try to plan every step of the way.As obvious as that statement is, it’s often so easy to forget and start planning your entire journey, several times over. I’ve promised myself to appreciate the troughs in life, rather than over contemplate what the hell it is I’m doing. It’s important to recognise when things start to slow down and get reflective. It’s even more important to trust that it’s actually OK to go through a slow period, and trust that another euphoric moment is right around the corner.
Personally, if I put my life in perspective and zoom out, I’m in the best place I’ve ever been. I’m about to finish up studying for a degree, I’m in a band and am following my musical passion, I’m editing a magazine, I’m fit and healthy and have a good community around me. What am I fearing then? Why can’t I just enjoy moments of calm, rather than let restlessness overtake me when it’s quiet?
It all comes down to being reflective and being in perspective. Admire what it is you are doing, and although you should live as much in the present as possible, it’s necessary to realise that troughs and ‘down periods’ are normal, appreciate them. It won’t be long before something brings you back up again, hopefully even higher than the last.