2019: The Year I Got To Really Hear Music

Given my line of work, this may strike you as absurd or even quixotic, but my ability to hear music has been severely limited for most of my life. I could not hear bass notes at all and the treble petered off in indiscriminate ways. Understanding lyrics sometimes required repeated listening. It was a mess, but I made the most out of what I had.

When my BAHA implant was activated in 2009 I was able to hear a wider range of sound, but only in mono. Even my bilateral BAHA was limited to mono.

This year I upgraded to a new sound processor. It has a ton of features, but the big one for me is that the two processors link up to my iPad to stream audio in full stereo.

For the first time in my fifty years on earth, I can hear recorded music in an almost normal fashion. It’s just being blasted into my skull instead of my ears.

A lot happened to me in 2019. Some of it good and some of it bad. I will remember this time as a tearful joyful homecoming. After traveling so very far, after working so desperately hard, I finally am at a place where I have a clear view of the horizon and it is wonderful because it is so familiar – exactly as I knew it would be, but with infinite possibilities to explore.

Christmas Bells

Written in 1863 and still relevant in 2019.

Christmas Bells
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Auld Twang Syne

I was seriously thinking about selling my prototype Somerset S1P… At least until I strung it back up this morning and realized that it is still probably the single best five-string banjo I have ever played. So, the banjo is not for sale, but we can have some fun looking the old beast over.

The New Decade

Shot of myself in 2012 alongside one from a few days ago.

I know losing over 120 lbs. should feel great, but all I can do is wonder, “How did I make such a mess of myself, and now that I am back to my old self, how do I avoid making the same mistakes in this new decade?”