Do you think you are always aware of turning points in your life? I think there are some days that are significant enough that you know that they are a big deal. Then, there are days that you look back and recognize them as essential to determining your path, after the fact. For me, I look back at the 2004 Friends of Mine Convention in New Orleans as being one of those days. It was just supposed to be a fun event to attend. Turns out that it changed my life. After all, I met Rhonda that day. Beyond getting a best friend from it, it changed my fandom. I probably would have a gone to a few shows during the Astronaut tour and that would have been it. Maybe, my fandom would have continued through 2006 or even 2007. I’m willing to bet that it would have faded without her. (For the record, I’m sure she would say the same.) I doubt either one of us would have gone to as many shows as we have and certainly there are lots of places we would have never visited with going on tour there.
What has made me think of this? Today, my sister, brother-in-law and nieces are in town. The occasion is one of those life-changing days for the eldest niece. Tomorrow, we move her into her dorm at Beloit College. She will no longer be under her parents’ roof everyday. College will bring independence and growth. Her learning will include academic, social and life-skills. I’m super excited for her as I believe that she chose a school that is right for her. Yes, I’m also thrilled that she will be close to me and her grandparents. I believe that she is demonstrating a lot of bravery to go to school super far away as her parents live in North Carolina. Will going to college change her life? Of course. It should.
When I think about this niece, I recognize another one of those life-altering days in my own existence. My niece was born at night and I received the phone call about her arrival way past my bedtime. After crying in joy with my family, I made a decision not to work the next day and I planned to be sick in order to sleep. Instead at 6 am the next day, my phone rang. The principal of a school I often worked at called to offer me a permanent job, rather than the temporary teaching gig I had been doing. I enthusiastically accepted. At the time, I believed that this was a step on the path that I had planned for. Instead, it led to a fork in the road, which included graduate school and teaching students with special education needs for 14 years.
Therefore, in thinking about my niece, I cannot help but to think about my teaching career. This, of course, just makes me feel old and tired especially as I gear up to another school year. It is funny. I’m really back to the original plan in that I now teach United States History and Women’s Studies. This year, in fact, I will be teaching an honors US History. Will this year be another major life turn or will not represent anything that significant? I don’t know.
It is sort of funny, though. It seems to me that what my niece is feeling today is a little how I feel about my school year and even about the band. Does my niece have an idea of what college is going to be like? Of course. She even visited this school before, including staying in a dorm already and attending some classes. She also knows a lot about what the college experience was like for her parents and her aunts and uncle. But there is a lot that is unknown. Likewise, I have faced a lot of school years. I know what it should be like but…there are always changes which make me nervous. For example, I have new staff I’ll be working with and I’m not sure how this new class is going to go.
Similarly, I feel the same way with Duran. The end of the Paper Gods era is quickly approaching. I have been through this before and have a general idea of how it is going to go. Typically, I would expect about three years before seeing an album. Yet, like my school year, there is a huge unknown in that 40th anniversary. What will happen as a result of that? I don’t know. Maybe they don’t know. Will there be “new” music in some form either from brand new tunes, tweaked old demos, rarities, or some combination. Could people hope for tour dates? I don’t know. I will point out one thing when it comes to tour dates. My spring break aligns with Rhonda’s, shockingly enough. Right now, she is planning on coming up to my neck of the woods to visit then. Therefore, if the band wanted to do something exciting in the Midwest during the last week of March, we would not complain. Hint.
In thinking about the future, I think it is important for my niece and for myself to remember to take things as they come. One day at a time. Maybe, one of those days will again be a life-altering one. Time will tell.