Discover more from Steady Beats | Matt Tillotson
Matt's Mix Tape, Vol. 159
Hi, I’m Matt Tillotson, and this is Matt’s Mix Tape. My life is a new mix these days. And so is this newsletter.
Daily note practice
Caffiene, protein, and 80s music playlists.
It’s a combustable fuel mix for fast-moving workdays full of context switching, deep work, and crisp Zoom discussions.
But I needed something else. Something to improve switching speed and lessen the drag, so to speak. To leave the last thing behind and get to the next one.
No, not Adderall—the Daily Note.
This isn’t an original idea. It’s a way to quickly get stuff out of my head throughout the day. It moves the thought-anchors that slow me down to another canvas, keeping me moving.
And those anchors come in all shapes in sizes.
Sometimes, it’s a quick note on info I’ll want to reference later, like who needs to be in a certain meeting, or an insight from a conversation.
Just as often, it’s random observations, like the note I created yesterday after a meeting:
My imposter syndrome is still running rampant.
In all cases, the thought is out of my head and into Apple Notes so my mind doesn’t loop back on it. Taking a quick note also acts as a natural fulcrum for pivoting, springing me onto the next task as Prince, Tears for Fears, or Van Halen wail on in the background.
The relatable Tom Brady
Seven Super Bowl rings. Insanely rich. Married to a billionaire Brazilian supermodel. Still playing football at an elite level at age 45.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is not someone most of us can relate to. He operates in another stratosphere, while I’m just trying to unload the dishwasher once in awhile.
Which is why Brady’s comments, after mysteriously missing two weeks of NFL training camp, were so relatable:
"I'm 45-years old, man. There's a lot of s*** going on, so you just have to try and figure out life the best you can. You know, it's a continuous process."
Tom Brady and I, on the same level. At midlife, and a lot of s*** going on.
You too, I bet.
Ghosts: balancing defiance and gratitude
You’re never too old to make great stuff.
“Ghosts,” a track from Bruce Springsteen’s 2020 Album “Letters to You,” has become one of my favorite Boss songs ever.
The song is a clear acknowledgment that Springsteen is in the latter stages of life’s journey. But “Ghosts” isn’t melancholy. It’s triumphant and rebellious, with doses of contemplation and gratitude.
The lyrics reveal some of Springsteen’s motivations to keep writing and performing. It’s a sense of obligation to, and celebration of, those he’s lost along the way. The Boss is still here, understands that’s a blessing, and dammit he’s going to keep rocking for those who no longer can.
Springsteen sets my blueprint for my 70s (minus a few hundred million dollars, probably): creative, doing what he loves, highly active, looks great. He’s cooler than I‘ll ever be. But I hope I can strike a similar balance of defiance, duty, and appreciation.
The musical construction of “Ghost” is classic E Street Band. The song builds to a crescendo near the end, repeating a melody and layering in more elements with each pass: drums, guitar, piano, organ, hand claps, saxophone, and back-up vocals file in one-by-one, rising up together to give aging a giant middle finger. The music pushes hard, and the familiar sound is an homage to its own past. Driving forward while honoring the past—a perfect complement to the song’s lyrical message.
In singing, “I’m alive, and I’m comin’ home,” Springsteen acknowledges he’ll join those he’s lost soon enough.
But for now, it’s his duty to not just to live, but to be alive. For them.
We should aspire to the same.
P.S.: I occasionally dive into this book on writing about music, and it makes me want to write about music, also.
P.P.S: I’d like to learn better understand music theory, and even dabble in piano/keyboards at some point. What’s the best way to get started? Comment with your best suggestions!
This week’s photo
A beautiful evening on the water in
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