By Mark E. Smith
At some point, one must get smarter about these things – I must get smarter about these things. At some point, unlike Peter Pan, we should all grow up.
I’m heading out on the road, with a jam-packed schedule – first Detroit, then Atlanta for Medtrade. They’re back-to-back trips, with one whole day home in-between, just enough to repack and catch-up with my daughter. It’s a nine-day stint in total.
After well over a decade of these types of trip, I’ve seen it all and done it all, and while it’s been a blast – and made for some great writing and tales to be told – at some point one has to put the work above all else, and dial down the after hours shenanigans for healthier pursuits like sleep. The goal isn’t to pride yourself on rock-starring it all night, then showing up for your gig on time the next day, but to prioritize your actual job at hand – and that means forgoing the whole rock-star part. It’s almost like there has to be humility to it all, where you just do your job, find something to eat, and go back to your hotel room for some reading and a full night’s sleep. No boozing, no parties, no chasing chicks – just a call home, shower, and eight hours of sleep. Is that the life of over-the-top stories and rock-star fantasies come true? No, but it’s a heck of a wise way to live if your career is a priority and you want to live by example for those around you – in my case, my teen daughter.
In Detroit, one day, I have an 8:00am corporate talk, then an 8:00pm keynote, more of a ruckus, rousing one-man show, introduced by one of Detroit’s top news anchors. I have to be up by 5:00am, knock the ball out of the park during the morning talk, then shift gears for a totally different gig that evening, where my energy level is through the roof. And, Medtrade is far more demanding yet, in that it’s a grueling schedule day after day, all week. Work like that, to the levels that I wish to perform, just can’t be done without a good night’s rest and sobriety.
I’ve written and talked about the highs and lows on the road, where the self-imposed chaos could take me from among the most glamorous scenes to the darkest of depression, the type of emotional roller-coaster that contributed to Vic Chestnut’s suicide. And, what I’ve realized is that it’s not the travel, or the work, or the scenes that cause such extremes, but the way we handle them – a loss of perspective and humility.
Sure, most want to be a rock star on the road, living clips of the lifestyle. But, the fact is, I’m no musician with throngs of fans, fueled by booze and chicks. Rather, I’m just a full-time single dad, trying to make a living while making a difference, where good work and clean living is a boring truth. My goal is to do my jobs, move on to the next city, and get home to just being Dad and cleaning my bathroom.