One of the many constants in my married life with Bill is a tradition we started when we first began dating over 17 years ago. Our favorite thing to do is to hang out at home together, relax, and enjoy each other’s company.
Routinely on a Friday or Saturday night (when we’re not out hittin’ the town), we have what we call a “Personal Evening”: Bill makes dinner for us (thank goodness I married someone who loves to cook!), and my role is to light the candles and put on the perfect music to accompany the evening.
The joy of music
Since the beginning, it’s always been legendary musician Herb Alpert’s tunes that perfectly fit the bill. His smooth trumpet fills the room and creates the ideal blend of relaxation, calm, and joy. And it’s just the right backdrop to complement our dinners by the fire and our deep conversations about our hopes and dreams for our future.
A few weeks ago, Bill and I were talking about how much music fills our lives and how much joy we get from seeing our favorite artists live (we’ve traveled from to New York to L.A., from Oklahoma City to Sioux City, and from Miami to Omaha to see our faves!). We got all excited reminiscing about past experiences and “feeling” what it feels like to be in the presence of live music. We also talked about the importance of continuing to make this a priority in our lives. After all, it’s following our joy in the truest sense.
The next morning to my surprise, I checked email and saw in my Inbox a last-minute announcement that Herb Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, were playing at a local jazz club! Interesting how we seemed to “attract” that email right after talking about how important these experiences were to us (I had even tried to unsubscribe a few times previously from that jazz club mailing…but there was always a technical glitch that wouldn’t allow me to do it).
Bill’s birthday was coming up and I thought this would be the best surprise if I could pull it off. What I didn’t mention earlier is that Bill has actually been a fan of Herb’s since he was three years old. While immersed in playing with his toys, he’d bug his parents incessantly to play Herb’s records with the Tijuana Brass over and over.
The ultimate surprise
The day of the show, I asked Bill to leave work early and told him we were heading downtown for a special night out. When we pulled into our parking spot in the ramp, I gave him a card with the show tickets enclosed.
His “deer-in-the-headlights” look was absolutely priceless.
His jaw dropped and then his confused and surprised response was: “What?! Herb has been my musical hero since I was three!”
We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at the elegant jazz club, and smiled the entire evening throughout the show. It was pretty darn cool to see one of our faves—a legend—play in an intimate setting like this…and for Bill and me and our 17-year relationship, things seemed to come full-circle in a really wonderful way.
The best part was meeting Herb after the show and being able to thank him personally for the gift of music that he has given us throughout the years; music that served as a backdrop for these two soulmates navigating life together. It was a complete honor to be in the presence of Herb and Lani for the evening; a true class act.
My learning is this. Keep thinking about what you love; what brings you joy. Allow yourself to feel what it’s like to be in its presence. And then open yourself up to receiving it—or some form of it. The exciting thing is that you never know how it will show up for you or what surprises might lay ahead. When you’re following your joy, life gets richer. Life gets fuller.
As Mark Twain said: “An ecstasy is a thing that will not go into words; it feels like music.”
Cheers to your joy!