I was chatting on Skype with one of my oldest and dearest friends the other day. Stephanie Crawford is a jazz singer living in San Francisco, and even though we’ve often lived great distances apart, we always manage to stay in touch.
We rarely talk about things like other people, what we did today, what was the last movie we saw, what we ate for lunch and so on. No, we always get into the nuts and bolts of our lives—what’s going on with us in the most profound sense, and what things are changing, or not changing in our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Sometimes we talk about the past—about our musical careers (we used to work together when we both lived in New York), where they’re going, and how they’ve transformed over the many years we’ve known each other. During this recent chat, I found myself grumbling about how the many distractions in my life—marriages, kids, having to do various “day jobs” to support the kids, etc. —had kept me from devoting myself more fully to my musical career. Stephanie knows about this, because she has been following my life since 1981, when I first moved to New York and met her. But the distractions had been going on for a lot longer than that.
I went on to say that I admired her because she had never swerved from her dream to be a jazz singer. In the middle of my crabbing, Steph interrupted me and said: “Wait! Wait! I LOVE that you did all that stuff! I LOVE that you got married four times and had kids and did all those things you did. They just made your music RICHER, don’t you get it?” Well, that really shut me up. The word “GRATITUDE” seemed to pop up in front of me in billboard-sized letters.
I knew that Stephanie’s path had been anything but smooth, and that she had lost her way more than once, even though it seemed to me that her focus was so laser-like. But I’d never heard her complain it. She just kept changing herself and moving on. After that chat, I swear never complain again about the way my life has unfolded, you can be sure of that! Thanks, Steph.