More Tired Than Inspired

This has been a very challenging year. (I suspect I wrote a blog post around this time last year that said a similar thing about the previous year, but I maintain it is still true.)

I am physically exhausted. I didn’t always make good choices. Concepts like a healthy diet and exercise seemed like very low priorities with so many deadlines in front of me. Of course I’m paying for that now.

I’m a little too wedded to my digital devices too. I find myself waking up at weird hours of the night and not being able to not pick up the iPod Touch to see who’s tweeting what. Even the installation of a sky light in my bedroom — which seemed like such a great idea at the time — means the moment the sun is out (often around 4 am now that the Australian summer is here) I am awake too. It has no cover, there’s nothing I can really do about it except embrace my new ‘morning person’ persona. [Actually remind me to add ‘Sleep Eye Mask’ to my Christmas list.]

Many of my colleagues are talking about the school holidays with great fondness, but of course I won’t be on holiday, I’ll be searching for work. I had actually forgotten about the ‘joy’ of job rejection letters but it is all slowly coming back to me now.

I don’t mean to complain so much, but oy vey…

As I reflect on the year that was I must admit I took inspiration primarily from music. Two singers were often in my headphones and in my thoughts.

Whitney Houston

Firstly, Whitney Houston. I found this quite accidentally on YouTube. I didn’t know it existed. I certainly hadn’t heard it before this year. And quite honestly I think I prefer the dance remixes to the album version. At its roots it is a spiritual/gospel song, which doesn’t resonate with me at all, but there was something really encouraging and affirming about the lyrics.

And I crashed out
and I tumbled
but I did not crumble
I got through all the pain
I didn’t know my own strength
So in my darkest hour
my faith kept me alive
I pulled myself back up
hold my head up high
I was not built to break
I didn’t know my own strength

Whitney Houston – I Didn’t Know My Own Strength (dj Moshe Barkan Re-edit)

I like this song because it sort of spurred me on when I felt like I had nothing else to give. I like it because I was always surprising myself by what I was able to achieve if I just pushed that little bit harder.

[Of course the irony of taking inspiration from a woman who drowned in her own bath tub was never too far from my mind.]


The other — and equally unlikely — source of musical inspiration came in the form of singer-songwriter Donovan. I found a concert he did in 1997 on YouTube and it really blew me away. I couldn’t stop watching it. I think a part of me wanted to escape to bohemia and ear worms like ‘There Is A Mountain’ were fun and light-hearted, and sort of baffling at the same time. It gave my worried mind something else to think about for a while.

His voice seems deeper and more resonate now than it did in the 60’s and 70’s. He tells these hypnotic little stories about the sixties. I told Twitter that if I started romanticising the 1960’s too much to just remind me that I hadn’t been born yet. But yes, escapism, certainly. Romanticism too. I guess it is another form of ‘refilling the well’ as Julia Cameron puts it. I need to do that more in 2014, too.

1 comment… add one
  • John, sorry you’re feeling a bit low. Or more than a bit. Holiday blues. Another year gone. And looming job search. You are so talented, I’m sure you’ll find something. Crossing fingers for you. And off to see Donovan via your link. Unlike you I was alive in the 60s. I was a young teen (they called us teenyboppers) in love with Donovan. So thank you for making my day a little brighter, ouch didn’t mean to mention that pesky sun.

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