Knowing when to walk away

I’m still sceptical that I will keep this up, but I must admit that so far I’m enjoying this experience of blogging. Perhaps I’m surprised that I can create (what I think to be) reasonably interesting dialogue, and it’s getting me thinking a bit more as I do it. I suppose all sorts of ideas go through my brain, and because I don’t readily find an avenue to express it, these thoughts never get past the half formed phase. Not that they’re fully formed now – but they do have a more distinct shape to them.

Tell you what though – something I’m battling right now is what to do about my tinnitus.

I have “ringing in the ears” – my ears ring like they do after you’ve been at a really loud concert, except my ears ring all the time – 24/7. It’s not driving me nuts because I have accepted that I can’t change it, so what you can’t change you accept. But here’s my dilemma – I’m not ready to stop playing in bands yet, but being around loud sounds is the exact opposite of what I should be doing.

And sure enough my tinnitus is getting worse. I struggle with letting go of something that is such a big part of me. I’m good at music, and it’s something that is an outlet for me. It may be one of the few things I’m really good at. I’m not great or amazing or anything – but this may possibly be simply what I do best.

And being in a band, others rely on me. If it wasn’t for that, I would probably call it a day and not seek opportunities to play. But I’m not that easy to replace. It could take the guys months to find a suitable replacement and by that time the band will most likely have lost the gigs and places that currently hire us.

On top of that I’ve spent a lot of money on recording gear, and for the first time in my life have come close to my original dream as a teenager, to be a (good) audio engineer. Yes that’s right – I dreamed about it when I was a teenager but avenues for training were simply non existent back then. And then when I had only been married for a few years I managed to save up enough to buy a Portastudio (cutting edge amateur recording technology at the time) and some basic effects units (delay, reverb etc), only to sell them again after we bought our home, to fund some basic renovations.

And here I am now, with some good gear and reasonably good developing skill in recording music at close to a professional CD level. Oh I’ll never be that good, at least not without much better equipment, facilities and training, but I can easily get better and do some amazing stuff with what I’ve got.

Yet that involves listening to bands that I am recording (it’s also unlikely that I will ever have the opportunity to record any bands if I’m not in one), so stepping away from bands will most likely mean the end, or severe truncating of, any recording opportunities.

But I can’t keep going like this. My ears are bad enough now but it is the certainty that they are getting worse and will continue to do so that bothers me the most. If I stopped now, my ears would still be annoying and a little depressing, but I would probably cope with that and there is the chance that they might calm down a little (not much but just a little) as time passes.

So I know what I need to do. I need to bite the bullet, tell the guys, give them time to find someone else and ease out. And I can explore photography, or painting, or some other skill (writing maybe?) to replace my creative outlet with another. I know this has to be done, and soon.

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