The Wisdom of the Barn
So, I went to a party in a barn Saturdya night. Yes a barn. It was out in the middle of nowhere about 11 miles outside of Las Cruces next to a pecan orchard. It was great! There were about 300 people, food, beer, and some of the best bands in Las Cruces played (including one of my personal favorites, the Dead Rose Sinclair). However, even though I had a great time the significance of this party didn't really strike me until later that weekend when I was discussing it with a friend.
So what was the significance of the party, you ask? Well, the music scene is exploding right now in Las Cruces. On any night of the week you can see any of a number of local bands, of all genres, at any number of locations (bars, coffee shops, barns, etc.). Many of the groups even help to bring in bands from elsewhere just to help promote Las Cruces as an epicenter of indie rock. And one of the greatest things about it is that, for the most part, the bands in town are a pretty tight community (they even have a community website where you can find band info, shows, etc, called lcscene.com).
But, while it is rather significant that the Las Cruces music community is turning itself into a hotbed of punk and indie music, that wasn't exactly what struck me about the party. What struck me about it was that they, as a community, have chosen to do this right here in the good old LC. They have realized what many of my closest friends and I have struggled with over the past several years, at various times. They have realized that more often then not, location is not nearly as important as attitude and approach. Any number of these bands could have decided to try to make a name for themselves by moving to a bigger city such as Austin, New York, or L.A. But they didn't. They decided to make the best of the community they have right here, and let the music world come to them.
Like I said, this holds a great deal of significance for me given the events of the past few years within my circle of friends. Recently, I went through a terrible breakup that I took very hard. Almost immediately the thought occurred to me that I should get the hell out of this town and start a new life. I was certain that that would solve all of my problems. But, upon reflection, I realized that it would not. I have seen numerous friends fall prey to this belief over the past few years. Luckily, most of them are now in a more happy and contented state of mind, but NONE of them attribute this to their current city of residence. All of them have told me that it has been a change in attitude in the face of adversity (dare I say life in general) that has ultimately brought about these changes in them.
From the perspective of psychology it is very common for we as humans to try to blame external forces when something bad happens or when we fail and we rarely have an initial reaction to a bad situation in which we blame ourselves outright, or at the very least, recognize our own amount of responsibility that ultimately led to our failure. I am not saying that we should constantly blame ourselves when something bad happens, but what I am saying is that wallowing in depression and cynicism won't help. We have to realize that this desire to move on is, more often then not, escapism, pure and simple. That is why simply changing locations hardly ever solves our problems. Of course we have to be mindful enough to realize when a situation is hopeless and cannot be resolved given the current circumstances. But the fact is that these circumstances rarely have to do with our locale and more often have to do with the mindsets of ourselves and those around us. We must realize our own faults and strengths and deal with them or use them accordingly. In these situations we have a choice, to remain cynical or to make the best of what we have and strive to make things better, ala the LC musicians.
I know this may be a weird analogy but that is the way my mind works and I think my point is fairly clear. While a new location may serve to give novelty to your life and to invigorate you in some way, there is still no guarantee of hapiness or success in your new location, especially given that usually the things that are making us unhappy or unsuccessful are internal and bare little if any relation to our physical location. Some people will choose to be miserable and negative about any situation or any location, and will move on thinking that that will solve their problem. It is up to us to see the value in our current situation and to make the most of it.