De-Acquisition Mode - I'm Hearing That A Lot Lately.

I find myself in a similar and not-similar aspect of life. I turned 60 this year, I’ve been divorced for 30 years, no children, parents and siblings all passed away. I’m the last man standing, so to speak. I became disabled 4+ years ago and I’m bed/wheelchair-ridden. Though I can transfer to and from my wheelchair, so I’m still somewhat mobile. I rent a room from an 81 year old man (father of my best friend) and he lets me use his car to run errands and go to Guitar Center here in Dallas. The reason I’m sharing my back story is because…I have NO ONE to be accountable to when it comes to gear purchase/selling and how I spend my time. I am still doing what I did when I was 14, I’m still learning new songs (challenging ones, like Eric Johnson) and keep my playing chops up. My live performing days are long since passed and there are no plans to join or start a new band.

So, I can’t think of anything that brings me more satisfaction and happiness than working with my guitars, setting them up, trying different pickups, learning new songs and leads, reading owner’s manuals, searching online for new gear, new guitars, new information. What I’m describing is how my entire life has been. And I’m not complaining whatsoever. Does it bother me that I’m 60 and realize that my best days are behind me…YES. Does it bother me to read online that another musician, actor, artist has died or committed suicide…YES. For myself, and I think all of us, we grow more reflective about ourselves, our lives, our hopes and dreams which did and didn’t come to fruition. Like many of you, all my musician friends have families, wives, grown children, etc. Priorities are different in older age, that’s just the way life is.

Now, is there anything I “somewhat” regret…YES. A failed marriage, a marriage that failed for two primary reasons. First, my wife never “truly” realized just how serious and dedicated I was to my musical career. It really crushed my spirit to find out that she really didn’t get it or get me. The second reason my marriage failed was for the same reasons, I was devoted, passionate, driven, hard working, long hours spent on learning to play the guitar (and keyboards), learning about computers, DAWs, MIDI, guitar effects, guitars, gear setup. I was deeply immersed into that frame of mind, from a young child watching The Monkees to an elderly man watching all things guitar online. I’ve never really changed, I was just being me, what was there to change, I had a singular focus and I pursued it adamantly with obsessiveness. I loved everything and every moment about my entire innermost self loving music and live performance. Yes, I loved to play the guitar and entertain people. That’s who I was and that’s who I am. I just found it unfortunate and sometimes saddening that there were so many people, girlfriends, wives, family and friends who just didn’t “get” me as I really thought they did. Oh well, such is some lives.

As a final note, I was always impressed by Alex, Geddy and Neil (RUSH) and how they still remained married to the wives of their youth to this day. Maintaining and sustaining a relationship such as that is rare. Okay, I’m done writing and need to go pick up my guitar and play!
I don't know if I would have regrets if I lived the life you have had. I have always wondered where I may have ended up if I had gone to a music school after I graduated high school. I took to the guitar and music at about the age of 9. I am only a couple of years younger than you are. I seemed to pick things up faster than other guitar players in the area I grew up in. I look back now and really feel like I could have had a real chance to of become a touring musician. I honestly don't know how I would have faired with the girls, drugs and alcohol in that environment. I haven't had any addictions to those things in life but they have not been constantly in my face and free. But I still wonder what I could have done with it. I am way past the time to try now.

I have been very lucky to have been a weekend warrior for many years. I was also very lucky to find a woman when we were young that liked the guitar player side of me. She met my brother first and heard about me through him and wanted to meet me because I played guitar. We have been married for 36 years this year. She has been super supportive with my music. She has even been getting on me lately to play more and maybe even get back into gigging on the weekends. I stopped gigging when COVID shut things down and haven't gone back to it. I get the itch but am tired of staying up so late on the weekends when I have a day job during the week. I have been trying to figure out how to play and have it affect my daily work week less.

Your story touched me and I just felt like sharing after reading it. I hope you stay in good health for many years and hope you are still getting enjoyment out of playing music and hope that continues for a very long time too.
 
I find myself in a similar and not-similar aspect of life. I turned 60 this year, I’ve been divorced for 30 years, no children, parents and siblings all passed away. I’m the last man standing, so to speak. I became disabled 4+ years ago and I’m bed/wheelchair-ridden. Though I can transfer to and from my wheelchair, so I’m still somewhat mobile. I rent a room from an 81 year old man (father of my best friend) and he lets me use his car to run errands and go to Guitar Center here in Dallas. The reason I’m sharing my back story is because…I have NO ONE to be accountable to when it comes to gear purchase/selling and how I spend my time. I am still doing what I did when I was 14, I’m still learning new songs (challenging ones, like Eric Johnson) and keep my playing chops up. My live performing days are long since passed and there are no plans to join or start a new band.

So, I can’t think of anything that brings me more satisfaction and happiness than working with my guitars, setting them up, trying different pickups, learning new songs and leads, reading owner’s manuals, searching online for new gear, new guitars, new information. What I’m describing is how my entire life has been. And I’m not complaining whatsoever. Does it bother me that I’m 60 and realize that my best days are behind me…YES. Does it bother me to read online that another musician, actor, artist has died or committed suicide…YES. For myself, and I think all of us, we grow more reflective about ourselves, our lives, our hopes and dreams which did and didn’t come to fruition. Like many of you, all my musician friends have families, wives, grown children, etc. Priorities are different in older age, that’s just the way life is.

Now, is there anything I “somewhat” regret…YES. A failed marriage, a marriage that failed for two primary reasons. First, my wife never “truly” realized just how serious and dedicated I was to my musical career. It really crushed my spirit to find out that she really didn’t get it or get me. The second reason my marriage failed was for the same reasons, I was devoted, passionate, driven, hard working, long hours spent on learning to play the guitar (and keyboards), learning about computers, DAWs, MIDI, guitar effects, guitars, gear setup. I was deeply immersed into that frame of mind, from a young child watching The Monkees to an elderly man watching all things guitar online. I’ve never really changed, I was just being me, what was there to change, I had a singular focus and I pursued it adamantly with obsessiveness. I loved everything and every moment about my entire innermost self loving music and live performance. Yes, I loved to play the guitar and entertain people. That’s who I was and that’s who I am. I just found it unfortunate and sometimes saddening that there were so many people, girlfriends, wives, family and friends who just didn’t “get” me as I really thought they did. Oh well, such is some lives.

As a final note, I was always impressed by Alex, Geddy and Neil (RUSH) and how they still remained married to the wives of their youth to this day. Maintaining and sustaining a relationship such as that is rare. Okay, I’m done writing and need to go pick up my guitar and play!
I loved reading your post.

To live a life in the arts and not have a day job takes a rather unusual gear, one that few people have - or even want.

People who aren’t artists do wonderful things, can be creative, can appreciate and love the arts, etc. but to live the artist’s life?

That takes a fundamentally different kind of person. - one who can accept the risks to follow your bliss.

And I don’t mean a different level of passion, though that’s also true. I mean a different approach to life.

One of my best friends who’s a brilliant composer and producer puts it this way: You have to be a little bit crazy to make the sacrifices and take the lumps. But we wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is why I could never retire to a life of golf and other leisure activities: I’m still driven to live the art.

Because it’s an unconventional way of life, it probably takes a different kind of life partner to be able to say, “Hey. Be yourself. I understand and am supportive.”

By sheer luck, the woman who was my high school and college sweetheart, who married a young lawyer many years ago, still manages to get it and was supportive when I left law behind and went into the arts 32 years ago.

I was, and am, lucky. And I somehow managed a bit of success at it.

Couldn’t live any other way. It’s who I am.
 
I honestly don't know how I would have faired with the girls, drugs and alcohol in that environment. I haven't had any addictions to those things in life but they have not been constantly in my face and free. But I still wonder what I could have done with it. I am way past the time to try now.

It doesn’t have to be that way at all. There are lots of musical paths that don’t involve that.

In the path I took, that would be unusual.

Even in rock, it doesn’t have to be that way. My son plays/tours with two bands that prohibit alcohol and drug use on tour.
 
I find myself in a similar and not-similar aspect of life. I turned 60 this year, I’ve been divorced for 30 years, no children, parents and siblings all passed away. I’m the last man standing, so to speak. I became disabled 4+ years ago and I’m bed/wheelchair-ridden. Though I can transfer to and from my wheelchair, so I’m still somewhat mobile. I rent a room from an 81 year old man (father of my best friend) and he lets me use his car to run errands and go to Guitar Center here in Dallas. The reason I’m sharing my back story is because…I have NO ONE to be accountable to when it comes to gear purchase/selling and how I spend my time. I am still doing what I did when I was 14, I’m still learning new songs (challenging ones, like Eric Johnson) and keep my playing chops up. My live performing days are long since passed and there are no plans to join or start a new band.

So, I can’t think of anything that brings me more satisfaction and happiness than working with my guitars, setting them up, trying different pickups, learning new songs and leads, reading owner’s manuals, searching online for new gear, new guitars, new information. What I’m describing is how my entire life has been. And I’m not complaining whatsoever. Does it bother me that I’m 60 and realize that my best days are behind me…YES. Does it bother me to read online that another musician, actor, artist has died or committed suicide…YES. For myself, and I think all of us, we grow more reflective about ourselves, our lives, our hopes and dreams which did and didn’t come to fruition. Like many of you, all my musician friends have families, wives, grown children, etc. Priorities are different in older age, that’s just the way life is.

Now, is there anything I “somewhat” regret…YES. A failed marriage, a marriage that failed for two primary reasons. First, my wife never “truly” realized just how serious and dedicated I was to my musical career. It really crushed my spirit to find out that she really didn’t get it or get me. The second reason my marriage failed was for the same reasons, I was devoted, passionate, driven, hard working, long hours spent on learning to play the guitar (and keyboards), learning about computers, DAWs, MIDI, guitar effects, guitars, gear setup. I was deeply immersed into that frame of mind, from a young child watching The Monkees to an elderly man watching all things guitar online. I’ve never really changed, I was just being me, what was there to change, I had a singular focus and I pursued it adamantly with obsessiveness. I loved everything and every moment about my entire innermost self loving music and live performance. Yes, I loved to play the guitar and entertain people. That’s who I was and that’s who I am. I just found it unfortunate and sometimes saddening that there were so many people, girlfriends, wives, family and friends who just didn’t “get” me as I really thought they did. Oh well, such is some lives.

As a final note, I was always impressed by Alex, Geddy and Neil (RUSH) and how they still remained married to the wives of their youth to this day. Maintaining and sustaining a relationship such as that is rare. Okay, I’m done writing and need to go pick up my guitar and play!
Deeply moved by your post Nathan. I somehow can relate to it and all I can say is...great to be living the life you want to live.


I'm in my mid 40s and have never been married. Many girlfriends come and go, and part of the reason is that I refuse to stop devoting time to my hobbies. I play guitar as many hours as my job at the university allows me, also love to play computer games and my weekend passion is to hike / trail run the mountains. Sometimes I fear that with my behavior I'm letting "good opportunities pass in front of me" to be tamed and get married and whatnot...but then I think of some friends of mine who are not living the life they would like to live (gave up playing guitar or whatever because his/her beloved one did not get it...) and that truly scares the hell out of me.

So kudos for not having trapped yourself inside a nice looking straitjacket
 
Problem is, our wives don’t “know” the music gear, and really don‘t realize how much of it we have, what it’s worth, or for the most part, what to do with it. I’ve actually written out some very simple ideas
Fortunately, my wife can rely on my son, though I know he will want to keep some choice pieces, which is fine by me (and her).

If it wasn’t for my son, my note to my wife would be, “Maybe you shouldn’t have rolled your eyes and tuned out when I talked gear when I was alive!”

;)
 
I've pulled out the 10% of my collection that I thought might be "expendable" spent a few hours with each ... like when an old girlfriend gives you a second chance ... ahh well I guess I need to find a house with bigger rooms ....
After doing this many times, I know that I cannot play them or they will get to stay. Even looking at them could get them to stay in some instances. I was thinking that I should take the two I put back to stock several months ago to the local shop without opening the cases this time. It would be interesting to see how far it goes that way.
 
I've contemplated selling most of my collection , the bikes, the cars and move to a nice little place in Hawai'i ..just sit on the porch and watch the waves roll , strum my guitar until I become one with the Island
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I’ve become one with my basement, aka Studio Craptastic!

But the easiest way to become one with a piece of ground is to decompose into it.

Thing is, I’m a composer, not a decomposer. And not a poser..

A man needs to specialize.
 
I quit my law practice over three decades ago to create a life that fits me.

I can devote my days to what challenges and fascinates me - composing.

It was a conscious decision to have my work be my joy. And it is. Retiring from it would be punishment, not reward.

I’d shoot myself if I had to spend my days playing golf or doing the other things you’ve enumerated.

There would be no point in it, I’d be unhappy.

But I have plenty of friends whose joy is leisure activities. They’re fine people, and I 100% respect their choices. Mire power to them!
Much respect for that...

I finally watched "The Legend of Bagger Vance" a few weeks ago... It's a golf movie starring Matt Damon and Will Smith.

One line stood out at me. It was"Golf is a game you can never win..."

I'm challenged by it, every time I play. I tinker with my swing, trying to hit the ball farther, straighter, to make the ball draw or fade (on command, not by accident...)

I can tend to be a hermit if I don't force myself to get out. Golf does that. I get to see friends, meet new people. It's cathartic... TO ME...

Not to mention, the exercise is good for me.

I get to spend extra time with my new son in law, as he's fallen in love with the game. I can't wait till the grandchildren come, so I can take them to the range and teach them the game. If it sticks? Great! If not, I get to spend quality time with them...

I even enjoy playing golf with MY WIFE!!! I mean, what in the actual f*ck???

We all "create" in our own way.
 
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