I write this as I sit on the floor of my apartment, or rather, on a cushion encased in plastic atop the floor of my new apartment for fear of my bare flesh touching the thick layer of hazardous grime left by the previous tenants. Trying to keep my mind off the lingering scent of mildew and cat excrement, I’ve been reflecting on my relationships and the unfortunate hit they’ve taken recently.
Community and friendship are two things that I value most, and I have been fortunate throughout my life to discover and create numerous little pockets of these friend-families all over the world. An unfortunate side effect of leaving bits of your heart in multiple places means having to miss out on a lot of important things and not seeing those you love as much as you would like. Just in the past few weeks, I have had a friend make a serious life decision, another friend survive a near-death experience, and another come to visit my city - and I wasn’t there for any of it.
Part of me feels a pang of guilt as I write that last sentence, but I trust that my friends understand that this is what happens when time passes and people set down different paths. As strange as it may seem to someone who lives a stationary lifestyle and always sees the same people, some of the best friends I have right now are the ones I see the least. The ones who let weeks, months, or sometimes more than a year pass by between our meetings and we somehow pick up right where we left off. Sometimes we don’t even talk about everything that’s happened in each of our lives during the months apart, but rather we talk about right now. What’s important right now. Of course I have friends that I am able to see often, and for you I am equally grateful. You keep me sane and grounded and provide me with a constant that is so crucial to my well-being.
As the years have gone by I think the friends that are still around are the ones that understand there are a multitude of ways to be a friend, not just physically being there. Everyone I love is on some crazy, ambitious journey that is vastly different from the next person’s, and I’m so thankful to call you my friends. With a restless lifestyle it is to be expected that we’re not always going to be able to be at each other’s side when that is the very thing we want the most. Sometimes we miss birthdays and holidays and graduations and all the tiny experiences in between that seem insignificant on paper but really they’re the things that matter.
For some reason this year seems to be one of the toughest to get everyone together. I don’t know if there’s really one thing we can blame it on - tough economic times turning us into office slaves, using this particular time to see the world and put everything else on hold, some of us have put so much mileage between us that we don’t have the time or money it requires to bridge the gap. I was talking to my childhood best friend not too long ago (over the phone, of course) and she said “I’m enjoying my life and I want to be an adult, but I want to be an adult with my friends.” So I guess this is growing up.
I’m not really making an apology or declaring some resolve to change the way things are. I’m not even going to ask that we all try a little harder to stay in touch, because when you really care about someone, it’s not something you need to remind yourself. In all of this, I guess what I feel is important for you to know is that I care about you tremendously. Maybe more than I say or you believe, but each of you are the very lifeblood that keep me alive and inspired. Even if you’re far away, especially if you’re far away, know that you are valued and we still talk for a reason. If I’m going to be seeing you soon, I’m really looking forward to it, and if no such plans exist yet, expect a phone call.
Feels good to be writing this from my cozy apartment in Philadelphia, currently housing the Amplify Peace Tour. We just finished eating dinner family style and are catching up on our respective work while Jeff and Koji mess around with some new material. Last night was the Philly show at Tree House Books. It was a really small intimate setting, the only one on this tour so far at which the attendees all sat on the floor. It made for one of my favorite sets of this tour, from both Koji and Jeff. I was fortunate to have friends from all over make the drive and come out to the show, some that had seen a Koji show before while it was a new experience for others. All of whom left feeling excited and inspired. My ultimate happiness comes from knowing that the people I care about the most are happy and healthy. Having people I love from Philly, Jersey, and this wonderful bunch that I’ve spent the last two weeks with all in the same place, sharing in that positive experience was a moment I really treasured.
Today, we went back to Tree House to do a workshop with the kids. The structure of the workshop turned into something really spontaneous and caused the kids to use whatever we could find around the building as instruments. It was really beautiful to see and made for a memory that I think the kids as well as the adults involved will carry forever.
Of all the things I have learned during my time at Tree House Books, and maybe just life in general, I think the most valuable has been the importance of family and community. It is a beautiful thing that can be found in the most unlikely of places. Even in a tree house.