Infancy is a stage of strikingly rapid development. During the first year of life, the infant’s birth weight triples… The baby seems to grow before one’s very eyes. Parents will remark that they go to work in the morning, and their baby seems to have changed by the time they return in the evening. Along with this extraordinary rate of physical growth comes a remarkable process of increased control and purposefulness, leading to the integration of simple responses into coordinated, patterned behavior. By the age of 2, the fundamentals of movement, language, and concept information can be observed. Most infants are marvelously flexible, capable of adapting to any of the varied social environments into which they may be born. –Development through life: a psychosocial approach, 7th edition.
On a cold, rainy Sunday afternoon, I found myself digging through my storage unit searching through boxes for one illusive book and a framed photo that I took twelve years ago. I had to go through a few boxes to actually locate what I was seeking. Before I fell backwards into a table and completely smashed it (not kidding) while trying to move a heavy box, I was transported to another world where a younger Sarah lovingly wrapped all of her trinkets, plates, and linens and packed them away with great hopefulness of one day unwrapping them in her married home, complete with a Volvo station wagon and 2.5 children.
Since there was no one else around, I dragged some of the boxes out into the hallway and sat on the ground, unwrapping little surprise packages; fingering for the first time in five years the things that were so vital to my existence that I couldn’t throw away then, but now meant nothing to me. I held them like talismans next to my heart and closed my eyes, trying to conjure any type of emotional connection to what had once been an object of great beauty or importance. I heard myself say out loud, “Who was this girl whose artifacts I’m touching? I don’t think that I know her.”
A different iteration of Sarah would have been saddened and perceived this as a loss. Instead, the Sarah who was sitting alone of the concrete floor of a storage building on the grayest day of the year was filled with hope.
“I’ve finally come into my own. I’m a new woman.”
I wasn’t unhappy with who I was before. But as Charlie likes to say every night at the dinner table when he asks “what did you learn new today?,” it’s a wasted day if you didn’t learn something. I think the similarly, it’s a wasted life if you’re not growing and changing for the better every day.
Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen, and keep your eyes wide the chance won’t come again. And don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin. And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’. For the loser now will be later to win, for the times they are a-changin’—Bob Dylan
The night before I went to my storage unit, the Sarah Mac Band played a house concert in Gainesville, FL for some long time Sarah Mac Band fans. We played one set of old standards and then because none of these Gainesville fans had heard anything from the new album yet, we did a second set comprised exclusively of material slated for the new album (Two weeks from today, we’re heading to Cincinnati to record it all). Afterwards, one long time Sarah Mac Band fan who had actually driven in from South Florida for the concert said, “You know what? You’ve grown tremendously as a writer. I mean, your stuff was good before, but your new stuff is deep and takes it to a whole new level.”
Although the comment evoked pleasant emotions in my head when I heard it, I’m not sure that it really made sense or trickled down into my heart until Sunday as I sat picking through boxes in reverent silence. The recognition of the stark difference between my old self and my new self spurned an echo from the night before, “your new stuff is deep and takes it to a whole new level.”
My transformation is just a microcosm of our collective experience as a band: more vulnerable, less fearful, comfortable in our own skin, happy with who we are, and a more intuitive, cohesive unit.
“We’ve finally come into our own. We’re a new band.”
I feel such a deep sense of pride akin to that of a mother for her child. I went to work in the morning and then when I returned, although I recognize us, I see a totally different creature—one that can hold things and put them in her mouth, crawl, negotiate her needs, communicate. I’m so pleased to see how far we’ve come and developed. I’m even more please with our trajectory and expectant that we’ll continue to refine and develop, even more so finding the best us that we can be.
Different than Sarah unwrapping little vases and picture frames that held no meaning in the present, our old Sarah Mac Band material is still good, right, and a true expression of who we are. Those won’t be sent out with the rubbish bin on waste collection day. But there is a part of me that is filled to the brim with unabashed eagerness and excitement about filling all of the empty aural space in our shell of an album with an arsenal of brand new furniture, pictures, dishes, and pretty drapes that show who we’ve grown to be in the last few years.
The best is yet to come…
Thank you for being a part of bringing us to this point. I firmly believe that we’re just beginning.