I started 2020 full of hope. After years of operations, sickness and recovery, away from the stage, I started this year with a new day job and a handful of house concerts in my diary. More house concerts would follow, I was sure. I would finally be back on track to what could be called a fairly normal life. I would be able to go places, go out for drinks, see friends abroad and sing the occasional tune on a stage again.
It all went down a bit differently. No one is having a normal life in 2020.
I still feel when I write I have to do so about performing or music. But at the moment bringing people together in a room for a performance isn’t an option. Even when small groups were allowed to gather in Holland last summer I wasn’t comfortable with the idea, so in that regard there is not much for me to write about. Still, it’s nice to have a little bit of a platform, even though it’s not a stage.
What I have always loved about performing is moving people, making them forget about their worries for a moment, bringing them a bit of joy. I loved creating my own world on stage, a world where every story in every song was there just to exist, to be observed and be told without judgment. I miss that world.
These are difficult times, and they will last for a while longer still. Kicking and screaming won’t change that, it may only make it more difficult to deal with it. I try to live through all this as I have lived thought every song I have ever sung: to accept the motion of whatever feeling comes along with the story, and to try and find the beauty in it, however hard that may be. And to just go to sleep and try again tomorrow if I don’t succeed today.
This is in no way a plea to stop critical thinking by the way, just a reminder that even in all this mess, we must not forget to care about ourselves and each other. As lockdowns linger on and new restrictions loom, there are people I worry about. I try to reach out and check in as much as my own energy level permits and I hope they know I love them and I want to be there for them. In the darkest of times, I believe that kindness, compassion and love are the things that save souls.
I am not big on Christmas messages, but this year December seems to be darker than ever before. I hope I can bring a little light into the darkest days of the year by sharing a song that always comforts me, even though the album is still waiting for its re-release. I just felt that this message needed to be shared at this particular time. Be kind to yourself and others, and though it may not be this year, one day December WILL be magic again.
And as for my day job: at the end of my first year my employer has invented a measure of time known as a ‘Maaike-year’, meaning something like ‘a year in which so much has happened that it seems like forever ago when it started, yet at the same time went by really quickly’. I do hope that 2021 will be a Maaike-year in a more positive way though…