Usually, I am relieved when my friend cancels last minute. My solitude tolerance is 70% while my socializing tolerance is 30%. After an entire day of socializing the day before, I really did not want to go to a concert, despite looking forward to it for months. But as I was meal prepping for the week, I just went, "Fuck it. I can sit here and be sad and anxious while overthinking everything, or I can attempt to enjoy my life." and decided to do the exact opposite of what I'm comfortable with. I called a lyft and arrived at the Brooklyn Steel just as the doors opened (btw Brooklyn Steel is an amazing venue, 10/10 would recommend to a friend).
I had no idea what to expect, but my sister raved about seeing Vulfpeck a year ago. Joey Dosik opened, and it sent vibrations down my spine. All he had was his voice and the piano. And that’s all he needed.
There is something so visceral about live music. You are observing someone at the peak of doing the thing he or she loves. When I'm slaving away at a personal project, and I feel a sense of creative fulfillment, I'm oblivious to these joyful moments. I'm too focused on doing the thing to acknowledge the precious moment. When I watch a musician perform, it’s hard to ignore. It's an immediate reminder of those beautiful, rare moments.
This was the most feel-good concert I’ve ever been to. It was like attending a party with all of your best friends celebrating everything good in life. Everyone on that stage was having a good time, and it was contagious. They were really fucking happy, doing what they love.
As I was standing there, I thought, “Shit. I forgot that feeling.”
This concert reminded me how happy I was a year ago pursuing a deeply meaningful personal project. It was a hard slap in the face. But instead of feeling depressed by it, I felt incredibly motivated, humbled, and inspired. For the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful about my future. Here I was, standing in a room of 1,800 people at a sold-out show, for Vulfpeck, a group of four who serendipitously started playing music together during their last year of college at the University of Michigan. They sold out at the Brooklyn Steel three nights in a row. I would say their music isn’t exactly mainstream. In fact, literally, none of my friends have heard of them or would go with me (ok except one who told me too late). And yet they’ve almost sold out their entire tour in Europe. Vulpeck found their people. I don’t think I’ve found my people yet, but with patience and dedication, I know I will.
There's so much noise in our daily lives that distract us from pursuing what we truly want. It’s so easy to get caught up in the frivolous details. A few things that pollute my brain: demotivating comparisons, checking other creative people's Instagram followers, looking at superficial awards, overthinking opinions of irrelevant people, forcing myself into the societal cookie-cutter molds of success and happiness, and assuming working at the 'best' agency/studio/job is the all-encompassing answer to happiness. Basically, overanalyzing shit that does not actually matter. My sister gave me the best advice that anyone has ever given me this past year.
A: I think you also think other opinions are more right than how you feel
A: And what you know about yourself
A: Which is not true
A: No one really knows what's going on
A: Ppl are just more confident so they seem like they do
A: But they aren't better than you
A: That's why a blend of different opinions are good to inform your decisions
A: One person is rarely correct
A: And esp not if you're trying to use them to make a decision about your own life
A: You gotta understand no one knows you like you know yourself. You need to be confident that you know yourself. Then other opinions won't matter as much.
Somewhere along the way, I became distracted, stopped trusting my gut, and believed other people knew me better than myself. What the fuck? Just writing that sentence pisses me off and also makes me incredibly sad. I want to spend the rest of my life, crafting it so that I’m able to create as much as possible. It’s a simple statement, but I fully acknowledge the sacrifices and difficult decisions I will inevitably have to make. This is what I've always wanted since the days I would spend hours in my room, drawing in my sketchbook at the age of ten.
Finally, as I was heading home, it hit me: I don’t give a fuck about anything, but existing in that rare, fleeting moment of creative fulfillment. If I had to pick between eating my favorite foods, spending time with Kobie, my favorite dog in the entire world, or even friends and family, it would still be that. I'm not afraid to say what I want from life, even if my voice is shaky and sometimes I feel crazy and even selfish. For me, it is an incomparable joy that only falling in love can come close to. At the end of the day, even if no one cared what I was making or doing, I would still be content chasing that rare, fleeting moment of creative fulfillment.
illustrations © bianca ng
cover photo illustration was inspired by The Beautiful Game album cover