Jason A. Smith covers government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ive had a bit of an epiphany in the last few weeks.
For years now, Ive been a creature of habit. Ive grown accustomed to doing things a certain way, and rarely do I ever voluntarily stray from my routines.
But, recent events have reminded me that, sometimes, shaking up my sense of normalcy is exactly what I need.
A couple of months ago, something happened which I did not see coming, something I was not thrilled about at the time.
The karaoke venue which I have frequented for the last 15 years, closed up shop. It seems the economy has taken its toll in such a way that it was no longer feasible to keep the show going.
Upon receiving the news, I wasnt sure how to react. As I have alluded to in previous columns, that place was like a second home to me, and a cherished part of my weekly ritual. It was somewhere I could go to relax, a place to feed my passion for singing and, like the theme song from the Cheers television show says, a place where everybody knew my name.
Suddenly, it was gone.
The first couple of weeks after the show closed were a bit strange. Instead of eating my dinner and rushing out the door to go sing, Id spend the evening watching television, and wondering what, if anything, Id do to have an enjoyable weekend.
In short, I was feeling sorry for myself. Thankfully, those emotions didnt last long.
As time went on, my wife and I began to value our time together more. Between her job and mine, its been difficult to find a spare moment when one of us hasnt been preoccupied with something.
When I began spending more time at home on Friday nights, I started to realize how much I had been missing.
Whether its watching a favorite television show with my wife, enjoying dinner with her, or talking to each other about the latest milestones reached by our little girl, the new routines Ive been developing lately far surpass the old ones.
Dont get me wrong. I still love to sing, and I still miss being able to see various friends at that karaoke venue every week.
If I can find somewhere to pick up a microphone and crank out a tune sometime, Ill do it just on a more sporadic basis.
Music and times of relaxation are important parts of my life, for certain. But, they are not more important to me than my relationship with my wife or our child.
The closing of the karaoke show was probably one of the best things that could have happened, in retrospect, because Im now better able to focus on what truly matters.
Besides, I still have an audience for whom I can sing if I want to, someone who hasnt been exposed to it much.
She even knows my name: Da-da.
Jason A. Smith covers local government and politics for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at email@example.com.