As I prepare for my first night out without my 3 month old daughter, I'm contemplating the enormous emotional strength required in the task of letting go. Just the thought of a few hours away from her raises all sorts of unsettling emotions even though I know how important a break can be for my sanity. It's interesting that this is my current mind-set in the wake of the Dave Matthews Band's announcement to take the year off from touring in 2011, but by now I've come to expect these synchronistic occurrences. And I know that I'm not the only one struggling to process the group's latest news.
As fans, we recognize the musician's need to have time off from the road. For twenty years, they have traveled, giving their all, night after night, in front of audiences all across the United States and abroad. In some ways, this has to be have been tough on them. I've often wondered how this life-style has affected the men's home lives, and how often their families are able to join them on tour. Yet even so, going to DMB shows has become a summer tradition for many in the U.S., right up there with baseball and apple pie. We're just not sure what our favorite season will look like without our starry nights infused with the best of what's around. And for those of us who are prone to anxiety, hearing of Dave's one year hiatus conjures up images of “Crazy Heart's” Bad Blake who succumbed to alcoholism when his creative well all but dried after too much down time. While we pray nothing like this would ever happen to Dave, we can't help but entertain thoughts about the band's eventual demise. Is this the beginning of the end? The Last Stop?
While we logically know that all good things come to an end sometime, none of us are ready for this quite yet. And it's my belief that we don't need to be. Call me an eternal optimist, but I just can't see this intermission turning into something permanent. Not many acts have the class to warn enthusiasts a year in advance about an upcoming breather. If it was their will to stop performing all together, they could have easily publicized that information. So far, they've given us no reason not to trust their true intentions. Yet still, we worry.
At times like these, it's important to embrace change. Nothing we do will stop it anyway, so we may as well try to be comfortable. Letting go is hard, especially when we fear that the end is near, or that who, or what we love will never return. Just remember, “if you hold on to what you think is your thing, you may find you're missing all the rest.” In other words, agonizing over next year could unnecessarily put a damper on this year's festivities. And no matter what happens in the future, the music of DMB will forever live within us, for it is as real as the beat of our hearts, and the rhythm of our breath.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self