When I was in high school, I was pretty sure music was my future. It was the only thing I had ever been good at, or at least it felt that way. I had been affirmed by my peers and my teachers, and I loved the way music made me feel: the stage was throbbing with electricity and beauty and connection.
With a lethal mix of presumed clarity and adolescent pride, I burned the bridges that could lead me anywhere else. I had signed up for Physics 2 my senior year because I liked the teacher and my friends would be in the class, but having discovered that it required some advanced math work (I like some math, but I’m allergic to the fancy stuff like calculus), I decided it wasn’t worth my effort. On the first day of class I explained to my teacher that I was going to play music the rest of my life and since that didn’t require physics, I would be failing his class. When we had an exam, I would write my name on the top, leave the answers blank, and turn it back in right away, thus preserving my precious energy for my artistic pursuits. It’s a good thing, too, because otherwise the world may have never been blessed with the prodigious accomplishments of my early musical career. (If you’re wondering why you’ve not heard of said accomplishments, you may have missed my sarcasm.)
I remember at the time feeling so certain about this future. It was a mostly untested plan; I had never successfully written songs, had never explored the music industry at a professional level. But it felt good to have a plan. It felt like I had found a calling.