Tag Archives: individualism

Commitment

I’ve come to find that commitment is a scary word for many people these days. Us 21st century beings are not too fond of fixed jobs, fixed houses or fixed relationships. I’ve always predicted that with temporary work and housing contracts, we’ll also be moving towards a time where we will be signing temporary marriage contracts for 5 years or so….Casual dating is something that I’m quite succesful at, but the phase where stuff is starting to look a bit more definable is where often things halt, as if there is a societal fear of the word relationship or commitment.

I could get annoyed about this, but I have to admit I’m extremely bad at committing myself aswell. The idea of having fixed appointments in my diary gives me pressure, be it from friends, courses, work, or probably the most intense of all: a relationship (waaah!). If I had it all exactly my way I’d probably decide every single day how I felt, what I felt up to and who to spend it with. Obviously my friends wouldn’t be so happy with this. Freedom is my highest value, avoiding and lowering all expectations, like so many of us try to do.

In contrast to all the new age thinking that ‘relationships should be free of expectations’, I think expectations are actually very a normal way of human interaction, for example good expectations, in the sense of looking forward to something, and bad expectations, stress or anxiety. It’s simply impossible to have human interactions without them. I tried this for a while -after going through a time where I had to cancel often with health struggles – not willing to disappoint anyone or fail, and my life came to a complete stood still, avoiding all appointments. So far the Buddhistic new age religion ;). I think expectations also provide structure and freedom!!

Maybe we should get out of our individualistic freedom bubbles for a bit and accept that failing or disappointing other people, or even ourselves is just part of life and not to be prevented by lowering expectations all the time. To me it seems a societal thing, not only an individual thing. I wonder if you recognize this? Let’s all connect a bit more instead! Happy expectations!

Session culture: let’s get together!

This weekend I was reminded of probably the most important lesson I learnt over my years working as a musician in Ireland: be social and collaborate! It’s something that’s often forgotten in Dutch individualistic culture where some people seem to be overfocussed on their own careers and results. And musicians can be the worst here!

I found this very different in Ireland on all social fronts: neighbours helping each other out with gas heaters in cold winters when needed, my landlord telling me he didn’t want me to pay the rent the month after the company I worked for went out of business. I saw some famous musicians still making music for fun in corners of pubs, and helping each other to set up gigs, lending out sound systems etcetera. Not really making a difference between buskers and festival musicians. Probably a remainder of the traditional session culture.

This weekend it was St Patrick’s Day and Luuk Lenders and I were spontaneously joined by a very talented wellknown artist from New Zealand Graeme James on violin and mandolin during. It was such a great contribution to the gig! Now if he were Dutch he might not have offered to. A lot can be learnt from the folk session culture. Put your egos aside: let’s share our talents, don’t go too low when negotiating gig deals, and make the music scene a better place. Because in the end: the music is bigger than us!