First off this isn’t mean to be patronising pop-philosophy and feel-good nonsense, this is a mixture of actual practical tips on how to make living easier, more fun, simpler and help solve common annoyances with life.
My basic life philosophy is simple:
Life is an opportunity; take it, you’re never too old or too young to do most things.
Whilst I know this is a cliché it stands up in the real world well enough, those that risk nothing, try nothing end up with nothing.
That isn’t to say I think people should bungee jump naked whilst high on crack, just if you get the chance to do what you want over what you have to in order to live, give it a go, like my grandad said the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work and there’s always another train.
Do what you love, love what you do, another cliché but again a functional one, if someone gave me on paper the stats of my working week, 14 hour days, somtimes below minimum wage, constant grift & hustle, little chance of huge success, late nights, bad sleep, no sleep, no money at times, I wouldn’t even apply, let alone work the job, however because I effectively get to live my own dream every day, I do it, no complaints and with much enjoyment.
It is infact true, if you enjoy your work, you never work a day in you life, you just live it.
Be yourself too, this takes enormous guts and years to master, but if you’re truly being yourself everything you do should come as naturally as breathing, this is how I feel when I make music, I am utterly in sync with the world around me and removed from it at the same time, ‘the zone’ as it’s known by sports people ‘flow’ to musicians is very real and is amongst the single best emotional and phsyical states I regular experience, including sex and drugs (in which I have a fair amount of experience too).
If you feel like this when you’re doing whatever it is that moves you, pursing your passion, then congratulations you’re doing it right.
Standard of Living
I’ve had many different standards of living, when I was younger my dad had a very good job in Advertising and Marketing we were minted, wanted for nothing and I went to a private school (public for my UK readers), I was comfortably upper-middle-class, whatever that means, I’ve also live on the breadline, the dole and the streets, I personally dislike both of these extremes, having everything or nothing is no-where near as decent in my humble experience as being comfortably able to pursue your goals.
Tips & Tricks
Wash, this sounds basic and stupid ‘parent advice’ but it is important, keep yourself clean, take showers, baths whatever you like, it makes you feel better and protects your health.
Eat well, and learn to cook, it saves money, is very social, and keeps you occupied, I love the fact for around £5 I can make restaurant quality food in my house crack open a bottle of red-wine and enjoy my own work with friends for a fraction the cost of a night out.
Clothes, do not spend a fortune, simple as, buy from charity and thrift stores, discount outlets, make your own and buy on sale, I have lots of very nice clothes, for any occasion and have never paid full price for them, thus giving me money to save for buying new shiny guitars. Despite having suits I spend most of my time in jeans & t-shirts, I just feel slightly dressed up in anything else and get paranoid about spilling food, drink, oil, etc on myself I don’t like not being able to do whatever I need to or move easily in anything I wear. Learning to repair your own clothes is highly useful too.
Washing your clothing, do this as often as needed, always have plenty of clean underwear, this is way more important than clean jeans, like many normal people I’ve worn the same jeans for a week, but made sure I have a clean undercarriage. I will mention ironing here too, avoid it at all costs, it is an utter waste of time, most people don’t notice, really nice clothes suits and good coats as almost always dry cleaning items anyway, you can press you clothes under your mattress, and if you’re ironing your underwear you need help.
Live frugally, this is essential, life has loads of unexpected costs, I took my car into a bollard in a parking lot/car park at the end of last year, if I didn’t have a bit of spare money about I would have been screwed, as it was I could cover it, and still had enough left to put towards a newer vehicle this year.
Learn to drive or master public transport, I have to drive, amp cabinets do not fit on trains, this is a fact, however you’ve got to get the knack of getting about, life is about moving.
Partying/Drugs, my basic personal policy on drugs is simple, I don’t and never have touched any hard drugs, they kill, destroy careers and are an utter waste of time, everything is a matter of personal taste and circumstances. I would say this, if you don’t get off getting drunk or high, don’t do it, if something does bad things to your head avoid it, if you enjoy something socially, and it doesn’t become your life, fine, it’s a moderation thing.
In short, enjoy a beer, cocktail or glass of wine without becoming an alcoholic, a joint without becoming a stoner (a very dull way to live), and if it doesn’t suit you don’t do it.
Dance, dance is immensely fun, social, good exercise, relaxing and escapist, you also have the added bonus of being very close to sweat,y happy, nice moving and attractive members of the opposite sex, I can see no negatives in going out dancing. Like the death cab for cutie song states; stay young, go dancing.
Don’t act your age, I was never really a teenager until my 20’s and have a permanent child-like way of living and viewing life, remember; growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.
Read, watch films, listen to music, go to the theatre, visit art galleries and museums, there is so much culture all over the world we’re drowning in it, don’t drown learn to swim and enjoy seeing how far from the shores of the ordinary.
Be kind and supportive towards people and respect them, I owe my life to the support of my friends and my mum, simple as, I could have died, sunk, or smashed my life apart many times were it not for these people, I owe them everything, and in return I look out for them.
Respect yourself, value who you are, what you do and how you do it, self respect is the start of being respected and the basis for being in any kind of human relationship, my best friends don’t always quite understand why I do what I do, many of my family & family friends think I should ‘get a proper job’, I tried this, it sucks (as I’ve mentioned before) I do what I do because it’s part of who I am as a person, without it I would loose a huge part of my self-worth and lessen my own life for the sake of steady, easy conformism, this I am not prepared to do. Music isn’t so much something that I do, so much as something I can’t help doing, it just happens, no matter what I start out I always wind-up doing it some capacity.
Have a side of your job that’s relaxing and lightweight, for me this is DJ-ing, compared to writing and performing music, I find it easy, but it has the added bonus of earning me money, keeping me musically involved, and performing. Whatever it is you do it’s a good idea to find a lightweight version of it.
Take time off, this is vital and I need not explain why.
Travel and meet people, you never know who you’re going to meet, or when, how or possibly even why, just keep moving with life, as Bruce Lee said “be water my friend, it can crash or it can flow”.
I’ve met Carlos Santana, I was playing my PRS outside The British Museum on summer in London, this dapper chap in a trilby came over complimented me on my guitar, playing, shook my hand wish me well and walked off with his lovely looking wife, I was with my mum at the time, and she gave me an odd look and asked who it was, I said “I think that was Carlos Santana” she took a brief look (being a fan, she bought me a copy of Caravanersai when I was younger) and was kinda surpirsed but not, as a Londoner she used to regularly meet ‘famous’ people on the tube.
This kind of thing is another reason why I love London so very much, no city on earth is quite the same.
Thanks very much for reading,