I've been thinking about deadlines. They're everywhere, in one form or another. Bills, taxes, getting your car smogged, the morning bell at school, getting to work on time...
Then there are the things in life we want to do, and because we want to do them, we don't associate them with deadlines. For one thing, there's that word dead inside it. The word has an ominous feel. It just doesn't fit with the notion of enjoyable things. For another, if we want to do it, it's probably something that can wait...or is entirely optional.
The result is, those enjoyable things get pushed to the bottom of our list because, of course, the items with deadlines are more pressing.
I've been saying for years that I need to learn some more cover songs to round out our set of original songs. Not only would it be good for me, it would be fun and would allow our band to play out more. But that's one of those After-such-and-such things...it's something that can wait until other deadlines are met.
Trouble is, the deadlines of everyday living are never all met.
There will always be more chores, more bills, more taxes.
Pretty soon you're having to smog your car again.
Pretty soon you're dead.
So Mark decided that what we needed was a deadline--a way to make what we want to do as pressing as things we have to do.
So he booked us a bar gig.
"You did what?" I squeaked when he told me.
"We've got five weeks to learn twenty more songs."
It took me two days to truly comprehend that a) he wasn't kidding, and b) he wasn't cancelling.
Now, for Mark this is no big deal. He's played drums in professional bands his whole life. He knows his way around hundreds of songs, and if he doesn't know a song he can totally fake it. And the boys are young and energetic with sponge-like brains and don't have bills to pay and laundry to fold. Nothing is more important to them than music, so they are all over this new deadline.
Me? I've mostly stuck to writing and playing original songs. I'm comfortable with them. You understand a song if you write it. You know the chords and when to come in and how it's arranged...it's yours. Plus you wrote it for a reason--it means something to you.
But outside of that? Well, for starters, I'm rhythmically challenged.
Hello? Wasn't that the one?
Mark is so patient.
And then I have to remember all the words.
Words are important!
But half the time they don't make any sense.
"It's rock and roll, Wendelin, get over it."
Anyway, we've been woodshedding in the studio, and to my great surprise, I actually can sing songs like "Helter Skelter", and "Life is Beautiful" (Sixx AM). I've always thought maybe I could and that someday I'd try, but this deadline has forced me to get over my nerves and doubts and belt it out.
It's also been great therapy. This has been one stressful summer with zero vacation time, so being forced to do something I really love is probably the best thing Mark could have done for me.
So my little advice to you is to give yourself a deadline to do something you've been wanting to do but haven't made time for. Book yourself a gig. Or a poetry reading. Or a lunch date. Or a 10K.
What is it you wish you had time for?
Pick a date, a venue, a race, and book it!