We never know what the future holds. I’m convinced that hope—hope that something good will happen and believing it will—is what gets us through tough times and the uncertainty of the future ahead.
If I didn’t believe, have hope, faith, drive, curiosity and love, I’m not sure how I would have survived this decade. Somedays it takes tremendous will to simply gather the strength to, as my husband’s mantra goes, “Keep on keepin’ on.”
This past decade saw the passing of both my parents, my sister, my in-laws, and as some of you know, my husband was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. I lost several dear friends, my wonderful dog of 17 years, and sold my catalogue of songs that I’d written over four decades. I’ve taken on responsibilities that I never imagined handling, from being a full- time caregiver, a single parent, managing everything for my family, all the while learning, little by little, how to build my brand and run my business. Ok, enough! The bottom-line is I’ve really surprised myself at all that I can handle.
My husband is declining and there is no denying that it’s the hardest, most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever experienced. Nevertheless, his childlike joy and tremendous will are contagious and I do my best to catch it when I can. On days where I just don’t feel I have the strength, I will simply drive and cry, or pull over and cry and talk to iTalk, the recording App on my phone. I can tell iTalk anything and it listens. Sometimes that’s all I need.
Am I stressed, tired, scared, anxious? Sometimes–even often–but not enough to ever give up.
It has been an amazing decade as well. My son is thriving. I started with a dream and created my brand, with an amazing team of women. I have lots of old and new friends who love and support me. I’m healthy, babies were born, friends got married, birthdays were celebrated, trips were taken. I finally got to see Barbara Streisand live! I’ve discovered Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Niall Horan, Halsey, and Chance The Rapper, whom I love to play in my car—my little private sanctuary—at a crazy LOUD volume, along with all my old favorites from the 60’s 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I saw some incredible plays, movies and concerts and spent quality time with friends and family (the best!).
…And my brand was featured in O, The Oprah magazine, People and WhoWhatWear.
I guess this is all to say that as long as there is a sliver of hope, there is life, love and possibility. My insatiable curiosity and belief want to see how this all unfolds.
p.s. Yesterday I attended the funeral of one of my oldest and dearest friends, the incomparable Allee Willis, who died suddenly on Christmas eve. She wrote “September” for Earth, Wind & Fire, the “Friends” theme song and The Color Purple musical, among many others. She is the definition of reinvention. If you don’t know her, look her up. She was and is a force of nature and one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever known. She made everyone who crossed her path a better human being. I wish I could have had one more call, one more meal, or afternoon with her, but schedules got in the way.
As I listened to all the heartfelt tributes and sat shoulder-to-shoulder with all the amazing artists, songwriters, playwrights, authors, painters, directors, producers, singers and actors–the people I came up with—friends who were like family, I felt this magical unspoken bond. Not only were we connected through Allee, but to each other. I realized in that moment how much I miss them all. It was an important reminder to me, and I wanted to pass it along for the new year, the new decade.
Stay in touch. Make the call. Write the email. Make the date and keep the date! See friends often and let them know how you feel. If you like your family (haha), call them, see them, tell them how you feel. Do what scares you most and step out of your comfort zone. Live life to the fullest. Wear the clothes you’re saving for that special occasion…it’s now! Eat the cake, be present, be kind, create, reinvent, collaborate, give the world all of you, the best of you. Be like Allee!