The first tune that I heard on the radio this morning – and so, this year – was Toto’s Africa. In the heard-them-a thousand-times lyrics, there were three lines I think would be a perfect motto for this year. 

Hoping to find some old forgotten words or ancient melodies

Studying music isn’t what I thought it would be. It turned out not to be (only) about learning to do what others have done before; this first autumn has, for me, been mostly about learning who I am. There’s a lot inside me that I haven’t known the value of, or even realized it’s there. My teachers have encouraged me to look not only to others, but also to myself for inspiration. The tradition of music, unaccompanied unison singing, that I’ve grown up in, is for my teachers not something to be a little ashamed of, or to put aside for to be able to learn “real” music. For them, that is what I already am, and so, there’s little need to become anything.

Like one of my teachers said one day, when you are inside the music, there is no evaluating, no better of worse choices. There’s really not even a choice – just a path leading deeper. Zen and the art of double bass?

I know that I must do what’s right

Growing up has meant, for me, trying to see other colors besides black and white. I’ve been forced to face my fear of losing my idealism and becoming too comfortable to want to change the world any more. But maybe the two aren’t mutually exclusive. If there isn’t a solid, definite “right” and “wrong” in the world, and everything depends on our what we value in life – why should it mean that we can’t work for a world that would be better in our eyes?

Maybe – really, maybe – admitting that all we can build on are values and not objective truths, will make us see that that’s what other people are doing too. If there’s no right and wrong, then there’s no good and evil. And that means there doesn’t have to be us and them. Even those people whose life choices I really can’t understand, they’re just people. Patriarchy would have us think that those people, they are our enemies. We can’t have that, if we want a better world.

Gonna take some time to do the things we never have

This new year’s day, I’m about to start a new life. It’s a life without the safety of knowing what a person will say and do in nearly any situation, because that person always works the same way.

That person is myself.

Last year, and the year before that, have been full of big, big changes in my life. That’s not about to end, even though it would be so much easier that way. But what’s different is that now I know there will be unexpected stuff coming to me, things I can’t, I really can’t prepare myself for. I’ve tried to hide from change. I’ve been like a child that tries to protect a sand castle from the waves when it’s really built too near the water. This year, instead of shouting angrily at the sea, I’ll try my best to enjoy the waves as they come.