Take Off The Physical Edge But Not the Mental Edge

I wrote this piece in my journal late last summer.

This past weekend my wife and I had a new experience.  I believe that from that new experience I have come up with some new writing ideas.

Maybe something is trying to tell me that even in my later years I need to keep participating in new activities to stimulate my creativity.

What we did was we went to a flea market.

There’s nothing new about that since we have gone to numerous flea markets in various parts of the country over the years.  The flea market we went to this weekend was a local one that we have gone to numerous times.

What was new and different was this time we went there as a vendor.

This time we were on the other side of the table.  We were the ones sitting in the chairs watching as the potential customers walked by.  We were the ones trying to get the highest price instead of the lowest price.

It was a long day.

We were up at 4:30 AM on a Sunday morning.  The truck was loaded the night before.  We were out the door by 5:30 AM and setting up at our spot by 6:00 AM.

The sun wasn’t up but the horizon to the east was starting to get bright.

It took us about an hour to unload and setup our area.  My wife is a master at making it look inviting.

The sun came up and it was a gorgeous sunny day.  We couldn’t have asked for a better day.

We sat there and talked and watched the crowd go by, telling curious people about the items and giving them our starting price.

The day lasted about 8 hours.  Then we proceeded to rewrap and repack what we didn’t sell, load it back up in the truck and head on home.

We did OK financially but it will be a while until we do it again.  We enjoyed the experience but it’s not something we would want to do every weekend.

When we arrived back at our house I unloaded the truck and did some other chores.

The whole family was at the house and we all had dinner together.

At this point I was physically exhausted.

I still had to practice and almost didn’t but I knew I wanted to.  I thought about how much better I play when I have done some physical activity prior to playing.  It tends to take the “piss and vinegar” out of me.  I can lay back and not fight the tempo.

I went downstairs to practice.

What I didn’t realize is that I was also mentally exhausted.  Being up so early and having to think about simple logistics like where and how to unpack, setup, repack, unload and dealing with all types of people both pleasant and rude for eight hours had mentally wiped me out.

This mental fatigue showed itself when I tried to play.

I couldn’t maintain any level of concentration or focus.  Inspiration and emotion just weren’t there.

I ran through my rudiments and got about half way through the second song I wanted to rehearse and then just stopped.

It wasn’t fun and I wasn’t getting much out of it, but at least I kept the physical part loose.

So lesson learned for me was when I have a gig or a session, swim or do some mind numbing work by myself to get the physical energy levels down.  Don’t expend that mental energy.  Let that build.

This revelation, which I probably knew all along, reaffirms my decision to get out of management.

There is no way I could have dealt with all that stress and then played.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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