Billy McLaughlin Road to Reinvention

Road to Reinvention, Preface

Road to Reinvention

Road to Reinvention

“My road to reinvention was fueled by my longingness to be whole, to have purpose and meaning.”

Growing up I felt lonely a lot of the time. That’s odd to hear when you learn I have five brothers and three sisters. I experienced an intense loneliness even though our house was never quiet or lacking a crowd. Even as a grade-schooler, I felt like something was missing in my life. I had plenty of healthy social interaction both at school and at home, but still had what, back then, I would have called extreme loneliness.

Now I understand that what I really had was extreme “longing-ness”.

I was longing badly at a very early age for something I knew was missing in my life. I mistook it for loneliness when I was young and swept up by it. But now I know that, all along, it was something unrelated to what anyone else could have given to me with time and attention, with love and affection. It was something utterly common but also commonly misunderstood… wasn’t “loneliness”….it was “longingness”!

In the same way people stumble to describe in detail the life they want or the success they dream of, as a younger person, I could not have described to you what it was that I was missing. I didn’t know what it was…I could only feel what it was. In that lack of clarity many of us mistake longingness for loneliness.  We try very hard through our personal relationships to fill the void that can only be filled by facing and embracing our emptiness, our quest for meaning and purpose.

This is the context in which I choose to tell my story. What I used to think of as one thing really turned out to be something else. Even recently, what I thought was the worst thing that ever happened to me has somehow turned out to be the best. To re-frame our understanding of loneliness and illuminate a better description of longingness would be a tremendous ancillary outcome of your investment of time in reading further.

I think we experience longingness most when we feel lost – especially when lost for purpose and meaning. We know something is missing in our lives and experience longingness, which demands self exploration and evolution…not an outside fix. I now understand that my “loneliness” was an experience of the need and longing for change – for reinvention and a redefinition of who I was and what I could bring to this world. Longingness is the dynamo of power behind personal change and transformation. If you feel it, you should dive into it. Dive into your longingness knowing that it’s not about anyone else in your life. It’s all about you.

Everything about my feelings of longingness changed when I found music. Music was the way out of my longingness and feeling lost. Music taught me what to do when I experienced those feelings. Playing guitar brought me to a new place that felt rewarding and joyful, a place full of meaning and purpose. I went through all these feelings a second time when I lost my music and had to start over due to my dystonia. It was no easier the second time. My road to reinvention was fueled by my longingness to be whole, to have purpose and meaning. Now, music gives me a vehicle to not only work in harmony with my feelings of longingness, but also to share them with anyone who knows what they are like.

If that’s you, if you are someone who knows the feelings of longingness, my music might be worth listening to and my story might be worth reading. It won’t take long to know, so let’s find out – together!