January 20, 2015

January 20, 2015

Hi Gang:

And a belated Happy New Year!

This is part of my original first-of-the-year message to you that got put on the back burner by the passing of Little Jimmy Dickens. I had written about moving into a new year with a “clean slate” and “fresh opportunities.” About people encouraging us to look out through the windshields of our lives and not to waste time gazing into the rear view mirrors. And I said that I agree with that….but only up to a point. I feel that we also need to take at least a few of the lessons we learned in 2014 and use them to our advantage in 2015. For example, I learned something very valuable about myself during the final month of last year. I had suspected it for a long time, but I know for certain now:

I would make a lousy retiree.

Let me explain. Other than a handful of appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, I took off the entire month of December. I told my staff back before Thanksgiving not to schedule me for any performances, any interviews, any songwriting sessions, any business meetings, or anything else that might take away from my simply resting, relaxing, and, as I call it, “getting my head screwed back on straight” for the whole month. 2014 was a vigorous year, and I was fast approaching “burn out.”

I wanted time to go to my grandsons’ basketball games. time to take care of some fix-it projects around my house, time to watch a few movies, visit with my family, or just stare at the wall if that’s what I felt like doing. Basically, I wanted no set schedule and no responsibilities. It sounded luxurious, and in a way, it truly was.

But I’m not good at doing nothing for very long.

After a couple of weeks, I started looking forward to going to the post office…or to the grocery store….or to fill up my gas tank at the service station. It reminded me of the time early in my career when my band and I were on tour up in the northeast with three or four days off between concerts. After a couple of days spent catching up on our sleep and watching everything there was to watch on TV, we started getting restless. I ran into my steel guitar player, Weldon Myrick, outside the hotel restaurant one night after dinner. He had a big grin on his face.

“What are you so happy about?” I asked.

“Because tomorrow we get to go to the Wishy Washy!” he exclaimed. After several days of doing nothing, he was excited about having the opportunity to simply go wash his dirty clothes.

That’s almost how I felt heading into this new year. I was rested, all the Christmas festivities were behind me, I had a new song out on the market that looked as though it might amount to something (“Country” by Mo Pitney), and I was ready to go wrestle a few alligators. And I still am.

Oh, I’ll still take some time off throughout this year, and after a stressful tour or two I’ll probably say to someone, “I’m getting too old for this!”, but hopefully they’ll pay me no mind. I am not a golfer, not a hunter, not a fisherman. Nor am I cut out to sit around and twiddle my thumbs for very long. My work is what I enjoy. Right now, I’ve got a new book to finish writing and an audiobook to record. I’ve got a briefcase full of new song ideas to begin crafting, new music to play, new shows to perform….new opportunities that I’m ready to explore. I am a Type-A personality from head to toe and I can’t deny it. I shouldn’t even try.

So, Hello New Year. I’m glad to see you. I’m thankful that the Good Lord has allowed me to hang around long enough to welcome you into my life.

Now, come January 31st, I think I’ll go on a country music cruise. I’ll kick back and relax and not do much for seven full days. After all, you know that they say about all work and no play!