Kristy Landgren

Eyes on the Prize

 Photo by Rhett Wesley 

    For a musician, playing live is a truly noble profession. There are a few who do it exceptionally well and I have always stood in tremendous awe of their accomplishments. It is such good fortune to achieve dreams and to be able to make a living doing what one loves most — in my case, music.

    I wish I could say I were in that League. My little league is the one that works by day to pay the bills and lives by night to make the music. Nevertheless, whether it is from the fifth row of an intimate theater or the pigeon rafters of an enormous auditorium, I find it remarkably rewarding to observe the great ones; I try to take away some morsel of craft that I can use to improve my performance skills.

    One of the covers I always enjoyed doing was a Stevie Nicks song, “After the Glitter Fades.” It sings of excitement and glamour in the rock and roll world but also of the pain, sorrow and loneliness it brings. I never really did the song very convincingly. After all, I’m not a rock star, and how can I compete with that famous voice, anyway? But I always liked the song for its melody, sincerity and vulnerability.

    Everyone is looking for happiness that lasts but sometimes the only kind we find is fleeting. If we are wise, we ultimately realize the only way to find what we are looking for is to step boldly and courageously into the necessary changes that will cause a course-correct for us. Then, we will finally achieve the desired outcome. An age-old adage comes to mind: The definition of idiocy is repeating the same thing over and over but somehow expecting to get a different result.

    Why is change always so difficult? Isn’t it curious that, although we all want more from life, it seems easier to choose the shallow comfort of the familiar over the frightening discomfort of the unknown? We remain in bad jobs, relationships or other unfulfilling situations rather than risking that which may finally lead to the lasting joy we have been desperately seeking. So-what if we fail in our first attempts? Kids fall all the time, cry for a moment, then get right back up and move on. Do we lose resiliency of body and spirit with age? Or have all our failures so permanently burned us that we can’t see how to move past the seared branding in our heads? We would do well to remember that Henry Ford failed, declaring bankruptcy five times before he succeeded in making the world’s best automobile of the time — the Model T. His famous quote is an education, in and of itself: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” So, although practice may not make us totally perfect, along with persistence, it does make us successful — that is, if we don’t give up before we reach the end-product or the life’s-dream.

    I hope to continue to muster the determination to keep reaching for the stars. I thank all my mentors who unknowingly inspire me to press forward in my aspiration to accomplish goals. It is such an inspiration to rejoice over the seemingly superhuman achievements of our mere-mortal icons, whatever the noble profession. With so many lost youngsters in the world today, who seem intrigued and enamored by their Glow stick Pied-Pipers, isn’t it more critical than ever, to hop aboard our own success trains? Shouldn’t we be the ones preparing to be the inspirational examples of perseverance and reward for the next generation of Americans? I suppose we all just need to remember to not give up it and just keep our eyes on the prize!

First published on Medium



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