15 January 2013

Happy birthday to me...

It's weird to me that so many of my good friends have birthdays within such a tight window. So happy birthday as well to The Mighty B, Kammah, !(bagels), The Joj, and - I'm sure - many more that I'm forgetting/missing. Capriquaricorns (and permutations thereof) unite!

This year, I gain a new 10's digit. Like most birthdays, that means that I don't feel any older today, but unlike most other birthdays, for some reason, 30 seems to indicate a passage of some sort. "He's in his twenties..." is used to excuse any number of childhood fallacies still lingering about one who has reached his majority, if not his adulthood.

My darling Bean is fond of asking a series of questions on one's birthday, and for many years, I've done my best to dodge answering them, but for the special occasion of my turning 0b11110 (yes, I did that) - not to mention the fact that I now have this cool bloggy thing - I am of a mind to share.

What was the highlight of the last year of your life?

The past year has seen some fairly significant highs, so I'm afraid I can't choose just one.

In March, I was promoted for the third time in as many years (these three promotions being the only ones I've known in my professional career). My new job is the one I've wanted - quite honestly - since I completed my newhire training, and the past year(ish) that I've been in this role have been amazing. The entirety of my employment here at RIM has been a smorgasbord of good people, new skills, and the feeling that I both belong and matter that I have yet to have experienced anywhere else in corporate America.

photo credit: B
In April, of course, my flexibility was put to the test, as my darling Eleanor came into the world and wrapped me firmly around her little finger. To say I was unprepared for the changes in my world would be an understatement of epic scale. My heart breaks - in all the best ways - when she sees me and breaks into one of her weapons-grade smiles.

In April and May, Traveller Song (my band, for those new 'round these parts) was joined off and on by an amazing fiddler, who - we found out - sings, as well. Despite the fact that he was learning our material on-stage as we were playing it, he kept up, and added significantly to the sound. After the faire season, he decided to stick around as a permanent member. Traveller Song has since then become the group I envisioned ten years ago as a solo musician longing for cohorts. We've played at several venues in the area, and each one of us has grown musically, feeding off of the combined strengths of the band as a whole. We've still got room to grow, but I feel like this is the right blend of the right people with the right talents and mindsets to make it there, wherever "there" is.

What was the low point of the past year of your life?

While the past year has also seen some impressive lows, I have no problems pinpointing the precise moment that my year bottomed out. 10 August 2012, at 7:14 PM, when my sister called me and told me not to rush to the hospital to see our Dad, because he had just passed away.

It's been 5 months, and even just writing the paragraph above brought me to the edge of tears.

I miss him. I miss his bad jokes. I miss his stories. I miss his wisdom. I miss his embrace. I miss his example.

I spoke about him at length the day following his passing, and have started a half-dozen other blog posts to continue to share stories about his life from my perspective, as much to share my awesome Dad with the world as to ensure that I never lose the memories that I currently possess of him.

Just the other day, I participated in something pretty cool. A musician on G+ by the name of Ed has started a series of Traditional Music Hangouts, where musicians from all over get together online via Google+ and share their love for traditional music. Here's a link to Episode 2.

Right after I left that hangout, I had a nagging suspicion that something was missing. Then I realized what it was: I hadn't told my Dad about it. I should send him the link to the video, I thought. He'd really dig on this.

Then I remembered that he wouldn't ever get the link. That I wouldn't get a call from him the day after to say, "Man, that was cool." That he wouldn't be watching when I joined the next one, eager to hear his son play and sing. But even as my heart sank in reflection on the Dad-sized hole in my life, I knew that even if he couldn't tell me in person, he would be proud of me. As a parent, I know he would be proud to see his son doing something he loved, just as I will beam with pride at every accomplishment of Eleanor's. But more than that, I knew he would be proud that I was continuing his quest to keep the music and memories of the past alive by sharing them with anyone who would listen.

What do you hope to do/accomplish/see in the year to come?

This one, I've already got encapsulated in another post entirely, which should be complete soon. Here's a short list, though:

  • I want to be an active father, and a part of every milestone in Eleanor's life
  • I want to keep learning to program and find opportunities to use that skill as often as possible
  • I want to see Traveller Song continue to grow and discover our potential
  • I want to make an effort to reconnect with friends with whom I've lost contact
Like I said, it's the short list. You'll just have to wait for the longer post if you care about what I'm looking forward to about this year. In short, I want the best day of my last year to be no better than the worst of this one.

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