January 1, 2021
Today is the first day of the New Year.
A day, which many around the world are celebrating quietly, but with hope. The pandemic, which hit us in early Spring, has proven to be one of the most devastating events of our time.
One day, when I look back at my life, there will be several moments that I will see as crucial to who I am. The first one is the end of Communism in 1989, which allowed me to move to the United States. The second is the terrorist attack on 9/11, which changed the world overnight and caused many people of my generation, myself included, to lose their naiveté. Finally, the current pandemic as an absolute proof that we are all fragile and all connected.
I am overwhelmed even just thinking about the lives we lost in the past few months. So many livelihoods have been destroyed, so many hopes and dreams have been interrupted. So many minds and souls have been disturbed, not to speak of the political, financial, and social implications this era will have on us for many years to come.
The biggest challenge for me over the past months has been to keep focused on making music and keeping my mind positive.
I find myself spending too much time scrolling through the news, listening to endless analyses and interviews with various experts on the virus, the vaccine, the situation in the hospitals, and the different branches of government’s erratic behaviors, including our New York City and State governments.
I am still trying to make sense of it all and still trying to find an answer, a positive thought, a moment of hope. In New York, this virus has already become a part of who we are, and it has had a profound effect on our daily lives, routines, the way we communicate with each other, and who we are as people.
The few times I spent time with people (in person, outdoors), I found myself either engaging in empty conversations or getting into arguments, sometimes more passionately than is worth it.
The majority of the discussions are happening online. Not only the experts, but everyone seems to be talking about the virus, the vaccine, the mask mandates, the politicians, and the recent US election. A few times, I found myself engaging with people who post conspiracies on social media. I find it hard to be tolerant of them. Sarcasm, irony, and bitter humor are my best tools in dealing with some of the outlandish theories out there.
Everyone has their defenses.
For me, the best sanctuary is the museums, which provide an instant escape into magical worlds: the MET, MoMA, the Morgan Library. Today we will visit the Whitney.
I have been recording videos as much as possible as well as hosting events for young musicians. These have kept me going but have also brought a lot of challenges, technical and otherwise. I miss performing, but I am realistic and know that it will be a long time before we can return to the pre-pandemic performing life we used to have.
So, as it is a New Year, and it is time for positive thoughts, a time of cleansing and renewal, a time for wish lists and resolutions, I will make mine as well.
I will wish for one thing and one thing only, which is for the end of this pandemic.
For the sake of all of us.