Summing up an entire year over two blogposts is something that just simply can't be done.
I'm going to try to do it anyway.
A lot has happened to me over the last 12 months and - for mainly myself - I'd like to finish out 2016 by writing a handful of words about each one of the highlights. This final post of the year isn't meant to be inspirational or motivational, although if someone finds it to be, that would be a pleasant surprise.
It's only purpose - for now - is to be personal.
I made the decision back in 2011 to record my very own album; a collection of songs that solely came from a single person and was inspired by the experiences given to me. It took five years to put together, but in January of this year it was finally completed. I can't say for sure if I succeeded in what I set out to do artistically, but the album was finished nonetheless.
And then came another one.
"Music Inspired by the Motion Picture" was put together over the course of the spring and summer and released at the end of September. I couldn't be happier with it. I am so pleased with how it turned out that if I never put out another album again, I'd be fine with that.
I've also had a wonderful time playing a supporting role in a band.
I've always considered myself to be a bass player first and foremost. I was delighted to be asked to play bass in a new band at the beginning of the year. Being part of an exceedingly talented group of musicians and getting to have input on the creative process has been a truley exciting adventure. I even had the oppurtinity to record an EP with this group back in March and April. The EP can be found here.
Then there is teaching.
I've already covered that in a previous post, but I cannot say how thankful I am to be able to teach music to kids three times a week. Getting to pass on the passion and knowledge I have on to the next generation is something I will never grow tired of.
I've discussed this ad nauseum, but there's a reason for that.
Iceland was a place I wanted to visit for a very long time. I got to live out one of my dreams, something I longed for.
If you've ever experienced that, you know just how meaningful it is.
I've been asked by many concerning what this thing is exacly about. I'm still hesitant to share, mostly because there's still so much work to be done on it. Chapter topics haven't been set in stone. They're constantly being added, deleted, and shuffled around. The title has been evolving as well. It currently shares its name with one of my songs but that could certainly change by the time it's complete.
I can however, give a vague description of what exactly I'm going for.
I have a theory. It's not anything scientific or even that well thought out, but it's an idea that I've had for a good portion of the year.
In order for one to be creative one has to be inspired. The things we are often inspired by are things we care deeply about. For myself, I find that I care so deeply about certain things that no one else in existence has the capacity to comprehend just how much they mean to me. It is only then I can create the best possible pieces of art.
In short, our best work comes from when we attempt to communicate to others just how much something means to us.
There's a lot more to the book than that but I'll save everything else for another time.
The Season of Pain
This wasn't something I ever wrote about but I wanted to briefly mention it because the lows deserve just as much attention, if not more, than the highs.
The last half of my summer was most likely the worst few months I had ever had in my life. I won't go into any detail about why in order to respect the privacy of those involved, but looking back on it, I am thankful it happened.
The thing about tough times is that they have such purpose in our lives. They teach us, allow us to grow, and show us what we should ultimately be focusing on.
I recently made a list of ten things I learned thoughout those two months. Despite hating every minute of what I went through, when all was said and done, I came out of it with a different perspective on many things, including myself.
Wisdom comes from the things you experience and not all of our experiences can be pleasant. We wouldn't grow very much if they were.
I finally completed college.
There isn't much to say about this other than I am very thankful that I was able to complete something I never thought I would.
The story behind this is pretty long so I'll save it for a piece of writing next year.
Every year will have both ups and downs, there's no way around that.
I wrote in last week's post that I've been seeing a lot of hate towards 2016, but the way I see it, this year hasn't had anything that any other year hasn't. There will always be election results that a large group of people won't be happy about, conflicts between nations will always exist, and celebrities will continue to die whether we like it or not.
The same goes with the personal year each one of us had.
I'm sure I will continue to make music, I'm sure that a few things I long for will be given to me, and I'm sure that I will go through even more seasons of pain. That's just the way things go.
Each of us now have a new chapter to add to our stories. Every one of those chapters is unique but at the same time similar. They all contain highs and lows that we can learn from. We only have to look at them the right way.
I've been trying to decide all week on how to conclude this post. I knew this final piece of writing for 2016 should end with a bang but I didn't have a clue what that bang was. Should I end this post with a piece of music? Some sort of inspiring video perhaps?
I decided no on both of these.
I'll end my final post of 2016 with a few words. Words that I have looked to many times throughout the year. Words that I hope you will instill within yourself as much as I have. Words that you should follow when you reflect on the year you've had. They don't need any explanation or clarification. These words speak for themselves.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things.
- Philippians 4:8
Happy New Year.