Finding a way to make it happen

I’ve discovered — or rather rediscovered — that playing music is one of the biggest sources of joy and fulfillment in my life. I play music — usually by myself — every day, but it’s the connection with other musicians where the real magic happens.

I’ve been thinking about how to play music with others without needing to pile into a clunky van and tour the country with a group of musical rabble-rousers. That just isn’t in the cards for me in this season of my life. But! The desire to play music with others remains. So! I’ve resorted to more creative ways of making this happen.

I live my own strange rock-and-roll lifestyle through the world of design, and I travel around speaking at conferences. So I’m trying to leverage those opportunities to connect with people through music. That’s why I’m so excited that my friends at SmashingConf have arranged for a jam session night in Antwerp after the web conference.

I’m incredibly excited, and am so grateful to Charis, Vitaly, Amanda, and company at Smashing for making this happen. I’m hoping to make this a regular thing for any conference I attend.

And then of course there’s Frostapalooza next year on August 17th, 2024.

To say I’m excited for this event is a supreme understatement. Over 30 of my musician friends and family have agreed to help me throw a one-night-only giant concert/party/happening. We’ve been working hard on zeroing in on the setlist for next year’s show, and I’ve already been having an absolute blast geeking out, practicing, and exchanging ideas and recordings with my friends.

“OK Brad, you like music. We get it.” Well, yeah. But I also think there’s a broader lesson here. I regularly hear people explain why they can’t pursue things they enjoy, or worse describe their interests in the past tense. “I used to be a photographer.” “I used to play music.” Of course, these people still have those talents and abilities, but they’re effectively saying they’re unable to pursue or practice for whatever reason.

In my view, of the main reasons this happens is because we tend to put things into artificially rigid boxes. We’re led to believe that in order to practice photography, you need to create a photo-specific Instagram account, sell prints, take commissions, etc. I think it’s important to have hobbies simply for the hell of it, and to challenge those boxes. When you challenge those boxes, you can be creative in how you pursue your interests. Find ways — sometimes creative ways! — to exercise the things in your life that bring you joy.