USA 2017...

... and so it begins.

A new year, a new era, a new introspective. New thoughts about this country, a new President, a new set of challenges. New.

I had a good 2016, and enjoyed the successes and challenges, although each presented me with opportunity to reflect on my career in ways I don't think I had thought of before. Maybe you are this way too, but I find myself always wondering if I am doing the right thing, making the best decisions.

When things are going well, it is not a big part of my thoughts. I tend to contemplate what I can do to keep the ball rolling and improve on that path... hopefully to a positive return. Sometimes that is as difficult as trying to recover from missed opportunities and unfortunate choices made. When things are not going the preferred way, or the results of those choices made can cause stress... recovery and adjustment can be daunting.

Of course that pendulum swing is what makes it all work, I think. If all decisions and attempts were flawless, we wouldn't appreciate the successes. One of my favorite phrases comes from a friend of mine: "You can't fully appreciate the sun until you've had to walk in the rain". And I totally agree with that!

That swing back and forth, such as the pendulum, is what keeps everything balanced. Seasons change, the cycle of life, ebb and flow, even regrowth after a devastation. Of course some of these balancing acts are much more encompassing and impacting than others, but it is change.

2016 revealed a lot about us as a country, and how we act toward each other when change is imminent. And to be honest, I was very disappointed. Through news stories (real and fake), social media, etc., I witnessed so much division and separation, and recognized there were so many ways to achieve that polarization, that it almost made me physically ill. I had to search myself for answers to the issues and complexities I was made aware of in the country, in my friends, and within myself. I didn't want to witness all of that - and mostly was successful at refraining from participating. But I had to comment a couple times, and then I decided to remove myself from the fray.

The election is over. We the people have elected a new POTUS, and this cycle will begin again, and the outgoing President's legacy will go into the history books. Changing of the guard, so to speak.

As I prepare myself for another year as a career musician, I am facing my own challenges and will make decisions and accept opportunities that I trust will head my way. I will strive to do a better job than last year and hope to find musical inspiration and moments of performance bliss while doing my best to grow as an artist. Who knows what is next.

I do hope that 'We The People...' will make every effort to erase the boundaries and dividing lines that only succeed at keeping us from being as good as we can be, and only reveals the ugliness that it promotes. We can be better. We must be better. I don't know if we can get much worse.

The President elect deserves an opportunity to make a positive difference as best he can. Many voted for him, many didn't. Sound familiar? That has happened EVERYTIME, no surprise there. He will make decisions - good and bad, he will learn from this experience, and he will lick his wounds from failures and celebrate his successes. My hope is he will consider the entire country and all of its citizens for every decision and thought.

We need to support him, challenge him, applaud him, and rebuke him whenever those things apply, but in a healthy, legal way. Positive thoughts and prayers will help.

Let us do the same for each other... yes, even those who we vehemently disagree with. A smile and a kind comment can work wonders.

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