It’s a cool early morning 78 degrees in Singapore. The orange rooftops of Little India are not yet reflecting midday heat, the world seems young and full of promise. Another breakfast mixing India, China and Switzerland and waiting for my driver for the final day of two two-day jazz courses. “Gratitude is what turns what we have into enough”— a lovely quote that came my way and if I counted all the blessings that made today possible, it would certainly more than enough.
And yet. In the past few weeks, there has been a new series of cricks in my neck that don’t seem to be going away on their own. Not bad enough to incapacitate me, but noticeable enough that I don’t feel wholly my usual physical self. I’m dreading the thought of a long series of tests to reveal some deteriorating spinal disk or suggestion that I re-train the way I walk or sit or work. So while still happy teaching these folks and swimming after work in the hotel pool and having some hotel room solitude, I’m feeling this canker in the midst of the gratitude I should be feeling. It makes it hard to accept that my life exactly as it is in this moment is wholly enough. It’s almost enough. But can I get my old neck back, please?
During question and answer time, one of the students asked me how old I was. A bit off-topic, I thought, so I asked her why she wanted to know. She said that she and her friends wondered how I had the stamina I had and where it came from. So I happily confessed my 67 years and answered simply, hands outspread, “From this. The chance to make great music and make it joyfully in a way that complete strangers feel like friends after the first 20 minutes together. From the way you all are giving energy back, having so much fun being kids again doing clapping games or improvising motions while making up scat solos with the first sound of your name. The clock ticks on, but when we’re like this, linear time is suspended and we’re in a world that has no age.”
All of the above is true. But when the class over, my neck shows up and reminds me:
” You’re 67.” And “enough “then turns into “almost enough.”
Nevertheless, I persist.