This is the story of a boy who knew passion far outweighed comfort.
20 years ago now, almost to this day, I chose as a twenty-year-old Dutch boy that had lived in the south of Spain for 11 years, to suddenly leave his friends and parents and Spain behind to follow my path and passions for music and gamble it against all the odds that held me even more excited for this cool and adventurous journey.
A path I had no idea of how it would go. A path far less “safe” than the dozen secure jobs I already had. Now, I’d end my 10-year long hospitality career in bars, restaurants and nightclubs at the age of twenty one and shoot for the stars, follow my passion and knowing damn well, I’ll never regret not having followed my heart. That was the goal.
My brother, Bart had already made a leap out of the hospitality scene four years before and moved back to Holland then as the drug scene seemed for our age and generation to be the only thing to do, at the time. This was something I was also involved with as what else does one do when you finish work drunk in a nightclub at 7AM? A night cap after work meant continuing till 2pm in the underground scene trying to fulfill a void I wasn’t even aware I had. And even though these youth years were an amazingly spectacular part of my life, I simply had outgrown the city in my field. Or so I felt. So, the next thing to do was to own a place of my own, just like all the other bartenders that then grew into having families and ran their own places. It just wasn’t for me. At all. I had dreams that simply couldn’t be realized there.
I remember well on a night off, leaning over the balcony of which apartment we then lived that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea that beautiful evenings sunset. I asked myself: What would I as a seventy five year old tell my twenty year old self. Settle with setting something up and maybe retiring at thirty one? Or follow my biggest passion and play music? What would you say, old Tommy? I asked to the orange blue sky while the sound of the gently crashing waves were there to sooth me.
He told me without even a pause: Imagine giving your grandkids advice on this. Follow your biggest passion or life will pass on by without you having truly lived it.
I have my parents to thank for that attitude as that is exactly what both my mom and dad would have said, against their own wishes for me.
It was channelling the generation before me, through me, to the next generation in front of me. And now you can guess what my advice would be to anyone asking me that same question…
Now, twenty years later, having traveled the world, played music in the most extreme scenarios and places, with the most amazing people… sure, struggled like a struggler does, through depressions, growths, self awareness, weaknesses, adapting to numerous of cultures, creating a fortress of mindsets, and yet, always with all gates wide open. And always ready to learn more.
Those struggles come with life anyway. But are magnified when starting from zero over and over and over again. Maybe it’s strength on the feet you stand.? I like the sound of that. Or a constant beautiful walk through life’s colours. Ups and downs that teach us our failures are only forward failures WHEN we’re open to learn and adapt with stunning Mother Nature’s teachings of that where limitations are opportunities in disguise. Every-single-time!
If I were not to have taken that leap twenty years ago, which too many were shocked with as I was one of the city pillars of the social scene, and if I would have had limited view of myself, or had not realized I could actually shamelessly follow my passion and try this thing, then the world would not have been open to me by default.
My need for music was bigger than the hunger I could soothe.
This is especially heavy if you look at what you could now have been doing were one to have made that choice back then. And the exciting part is, it’s not too late for it now either to follow your passion or calling! As long as you’re breathing you can change your mind and change directions. It’s as simple as that. Even at 80 I’d still turn the wheel towards another direction. And if you now think damn, why didn’t I do this or that back then. Then this IS your moment to start walking with that mindset open to what you truly want in life. Deserve yourself this. Ask yourself what this thing may be. And dare to think outside of what you already know. Visualize it in your head. And what small steps you may need to get there. Ultimately, one just need to start walking. Simply, walking to the path, think of it as a starting point, then take one action towards it, doesn’t matter what, just one small action. Setting the first step first on that path, as that’s the biggest one towards your own true fulfillment. When you have taken this very first step, do you feel good? Does it feel good? You feel productive? Are you out of your comfort zone? Feeling a bit rebellious-like? A bit badass? Those are good signs! haha. Keep going. It will get difficult at times. But, you already knew they were coming. Just need to front them and get passed them and continue. You’ll have those that will try to drag you down, screw them, stay focused. You may find yourself inspiring others. Are you ready to take on your own life? Are you ready to take on your own dream? You’ll thank yourself in that very historical moment and in the many moments to come after that, and mostly you will thank yourself …later on in life… ‘Coz this very adventure might just be the most exciting thing you will ever do.
And, if you don’t do it, You’ll never know.
🙏🏻 I love you. Trust yourself. You can do this shit!