Shifting Gears

I grew up during the heyday of classic rock. Of course, when I was coming up, the Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles–none of them were sidled with that banner–this would come later, when Boomers had to find a way to commodify music just like everything else they touched.

Rock and roll, once thought of as dangerous, and/or overtly sexual, was sanitized and now, these classic tunes have become nothing more than a sound score for the latest luxury sedan commercial, or to sell some other hideous household consumer item.

Still, some songs of the “classic” variety maintain their initial power to transport you, taking you back to those halcyon high school years, no matter how many times they get played by classic rock DJs from Portland to Peoria.

A handful of these songs have weathered well, standing the test of more than three decades. One such song is Golden Earring’s “Radar Love.”  There are so many great lines in this song, along with it’s distinctly familiar bass line propelling the song along; it captures the long distance driving experience in a way that puts this song in a category all its own.

 I was thinking of the line the other day, “and it’s half past four and I’m shifting gears.”

It is gear-shifting time again for the JBE. Since March of 2012, when merely having one single 40-hour position wasn’t enough or the reality anymore. I’ve been piecing it together like an artist, in fine, 21st century free agent style. If you’ve never tried making a living from a stack of 1099s, then you have no idea the savvy and skill it takes; juggling tasks, keeping everything straight for the tax man, and knowing how tenuous and the fleeting nature of your existence really is without paid holidays, vacations, no insurance of your own, and anything resembling a safety net.

Free agents travel light.

Free agents travel light.

For us free agents, however, we wouldn’t have it any other way. You get addicted to the adrenaline rush. I’ve done it once; can I do it again? And again? Yes I can!!

Gone are the eight-hour, come in at 9:00 and check out at 5:00 days of the pseudo-government, or nonprofit office crowd. No; I’m often, up at 4:30, grabbing that first cup of coffee and figuring out my day in the dark, illuminated by the glow of a single desk lamp.

For 13 months, I’ve thrown my whole being into something that I believed was important. I’ll save the details for some later date. I will say, however that the ending was disappointing and it’s taken me a good week to begin seeing that it might be for the better.

Waking up yesterday, something felt different. It’s as if I’d already turned the corner, shifted into a different gear, and I was ready for whatever’s next. I realized that for the first time in almost seven years, I was now free to say, do, and write whatever I wanted to. I don’t have to censor my thoughts to make sure I don’t jeopardize a grant, or offend a partner, or stay out of our crazy governor’s cross hairs. It felt liberating.

I’m not sure what’s next, but I truly believe that when a door closes, there’s often another one, somewhere, beckoning you to knock. Now the task is figuring out where it is, and whether I want to take on what’s behind it.

In the interim, I’m planning to step back, reassess, and figure out where my skills might do some good.

2 thoughts on “Shifting Gears

  1. Change is good. Hot coffee at the desk as the gears start turning is good. Being able to be yourself, crazy people be dammed, is good. It’s good. Not easy sometimes, but good. I’m eager to see what happens next.

    • Thanks, Robin. Just got updated on what’s going on over at Robin’s Outdoors; hassles about hunting and plagiarism; that sucks!!

      A few years ago, a well-known PR/Marketing person “stole” a photo I shot of Rangeley Lake by not giving me proper attribution. I’m no photographer, but I can set up a shot and this one was beautiful and panoramic.

      Have seen a number of things lifted word for word from me in other books about Maine or Moxie. And of course, and every year during the weeks leading up to and through the Moxie Festival, articles appear cannibalizing my research and efforts to update the Moxie canon.

      Attribution and a link to my book, or the website selling them is always nice, especially since being a freelancer, it’s important to leverage what you’ve got.

      There are some real shysters running about. As they say, keep a watch on your back.

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