I headed up to San Jose last weekend for the Cinequest film festival where our doc feature Naughty Books was having its world premiere.
While traveling and events are a little stress stressful in the wake of COVID-19 I was still looking forward to the drive up, having a mini-working-vacay in a different city staying in a nice hotel room, catching up with the wonderful NB crew, using lots of hand sanitizer…….
On the drive up I put on This American Life and the first episode I listened to was about Delight. It introduced people who lived their lives focused on….delight. There’s really no other word for delight, it is a very specific thing. The subjects discussed relished in the little and big things which brought them joy / happiness / life. This resonated strongly with me. I felt like it put me on notice. I was ready to witness moments of delight throughout the weekend.
Since my life dramatically changed 3 years ago as the result of a divorce, I have been experiencing everything in a new way, and having many firsts. The first time living alone. The first time being financially independent. And I realized that this 5 hour drive up to San Jose was my first solo road trip, which is kind of crazy as I LOVE to drive. I feel like at the end of 2017 I was brought back to life. Woken up. Everything has seemed more vivid and precious since then. As I drove towards San Jose I was surprised by the beauty. Rolling green hills. The San Luis Reservoir.
There were some great moments of delight through the weekend. Watching a film I scored, hearing how the mix was really well done, and still liking the music I wrote (even though I composed it a couple of years ago) was absolutely wonderful. Hearing people laugh and react in the appropriate spots, just the way you wanted them to, and then applaud enthusiastically at the end was truly priceless.
After the film I was introduced to an Australian filmmaker, Megan Riakos, who had an Anthology feature at the festival. Turned out the composer who composed the score that weaved throughout the anthologies was Prue Montin, another Aussie composer friend of mine! Then later that night I met an Aussie director who had a short, The Priest, at the festival. We were chatting about film music and he told me that he heard a great score the other day and it was by Caitlin Yeo, yet another awesome Aussie composer and role model in the Aussie film scoring community. To hear him rave about her score, and to meet other creatives from home made me so incredibly happy and hopeful.
As I drove home on Sunday I listened to a few more stories via podcasts. In those stories people’s lives changed dramatically and in an instant, as they do all the time. We always live on this razor’s edge, whether we see it or not, but in times like this with a pandemic going on and a national election looming, the uncertainty feels almost overwhelming. But this is life. We have no way of knowing what the next hour will bring, let alone the next minute. I write to you in a dark apartment with my laptop battery at 52% as the power has disappeared for the second time today an hour ago. That was unexpected!
Which is why it is so important and so wonderful to delight in those moments of bliss or beauty everyday. Whether it is being struck by how wonderful your person is. Or how incredibly adorable your pets are. Or how fortunate you are to be working this gig right now. Or how great that coffee was. Or how nice it is that your software is behaving today. I sit here writing to you in my home which is a peaceful haven for me. I am struck many times a month on how lucky I am to have a home, a safe home, just for me. So many people do not have that. The NY public school system will not close down in the wake of COVID-19 unless as an absolute last result because 114,000 children would then have NO place to go. No safe home. No home at all.
While I do not believe living in gratitude and delight then leaves no room for acknowledging things that bother you, problems that you have to work through, I believe it does help to keep things in an appropriate perspective. We will always live in uncertain times. My life might change tomorrow. So today I am going to relish every moment.