I'm a planner. Lists, checklists, advance purchasing and planning. The whole nine yards. I purchased my tickets to a show called Songs & Stories, well in advance. An evening with Art Alexakis of Everclear, Chris Collingwood of Fountains of Wayne, Max Collins of Eve 6 and John Wozniak of Marcy Playground. I read everything several times. I made plans with a friend in the city, took off work early to take the ferry into the city - did everything right for an event that was really important to me. I checked my personal email before work like I do every day and went on about my work day, hustling to get everything done so I could take off in plenty of time in case there were any delays, traffic, I got lost in the city, etc.
Doors open at 7:00. I showed up at 6:50 PM. Got in line. Had my tickets ready. All set and fired up for my VIP experience. The guy at the door scanned my tickets and when I got inside with the handful of people that were there early (I assumed for the VIP event) I ordered a drink and waited for instruction on my VIP experience. I must have told my friend, Lisa ten different things I'd been practicing in my head to say to Art if I got the chance. I didn't find out until near the end of the show, when I asked a Slim's security member who told me to go ask the girl at the merch table who sent me to the door guy who told me...I missed the whole thing.
Everything I read said that the doors open at 7:00. I didn't figure the "show" would start until 10:00 and that the VIP event would be in the hour between when the doors open and the show starting at 8:00. I did a search for Slim's (the venue) on my phone and the only thing that showed up was the general reminder and my tickets. It wasn't until I searched Eventbrite that I found the email that went out the morning of - which would have been too late for me since I only check my personal email once a day in the morning. It wasn't until 5 minutes ago when I searched "Alexakis" on my phone did I see the detailed email that you sent out 7 days in advance.
So I'm standing there with my poster, t-shirt and really cool badge/lanyard like someone stole my puppy. Turns out that if you hang around long enough and the musicians aren't over it, they hang out. I got to hang out with Art for a bit, tell him how much his music influenced so much of my life.
We had a wonderful conversation that led to the following insights and life advice:
1. Planning something to death doesn't always result in the best experience.
Your plan doesn't measure up to what The Universe has in store for you. See above.
2. Speak Up!
I kept asking and asking different people at the venue. I spoke up so many times that I ended up staying until there was a better opportunity.
3. Tell your story. You'd be surprised who wants to hear it.
I shared some very personal info with Art Alexakis and we ended up having a great conversation that never would have happened if I'd just said "Hi, I'm a big fan."
4. If you love your life today, you can't hate the experiences that shaped you.
No matter what happened in your fucked up childhood, it took every single thing from your past to form who you are today.
5. MS and concussions have a lot in common.
Forgetting what you're talking about in the middle of a sentence or song. Not being able to walk in a straight line without looking down. Oh and most people don't notice these things unless you point them out. So don't bother pointing them out. Don't point out what's wrong with you. Spend time talking about what you share in common.
6. Be present. Be in the now.
It's where all of the goodness lies. It's the most simple statement that is the hardest to live by. But, it's the most rewarding.
7. Music can change everything.
The Everclear songs 'Everything to Everyone' and 'Amphetamine' made me look at my life and change what I saw.
8. Jesus was a rad dude.
Regardless of what you believe - whether is the son of God or not, he was a rad dude. He had a lot of insightful things to say. He was a bright light and a good example. We can all learn something from his life and his teachings. Sometimes the best experiences and stories come from hanging out with the freaks, the leppers or the prostitutes. It's our job not to let religion ruin that for us.
9. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.
When you make it a life goal to get the big house in the country club or in the West Hills, you might not like that life when you get there.
10. I don't care what experts say about a top ten list. I still like them.
Some internet / social media experts says that because of the reduced attention span in humans today, we should shorten the lists to way less than 10. I call bullshit. If you have 10 things to say and you like The Top 10 List - don't listen to the fad advice of the moment.