Paulo Almeida

Paulo Almeida, drummer/percussionist, arranger, composer

Drummer/percussionist, composer and arranger of multiple music genres.

Be brave, keep going, strive, thrive

I was engaged. I met this beautiful woman at my day-job and our relationship was fun and exciting and so many wonderful things for some time. We started talking about marriage a little after a year of dating and I was so excited to be in a place where I was ready to take the plunge and be committed to her. After attempting for almost a year to plan the wedding, we had to call it off. We couldn’t make decisions, couldn’t agree on the size, and we couldn’t agree on what would happen after the wedding…. where we would live, how to navigate children, and such. Maybe I’m making it sound worse than it actually was, but it was really tough on the relationship. I backed off on the planning and decided to give her the opportunity to take a breath, decide if she wanted to be initiated into my faith, and be ready to start making plans again. 4 months after we cancelled our original wedding date, there was not end in sight to this time of preparation and discernment. I felt awful bringing up the state of our relationship, which I knew would initiate a break-up (we had this conversation several times before but never ended it).

I felt as though I was abandoning her. I felt like I was giving up and running away, as I have done in previous relationships for various reasons. But how do you make it work? The difficulties that we were both facing within ourselves and our relationship made it clear to me that we were not a place to commit to a marriage, much less a wedding date. My life was on hold. It still feels on hold now, but I’m not feeling a need to date right away since we’ve been broken-up for about a month now. I look forward to being in an exciting, loving, caring, nurturing, supportive marriage that will welcome children. I could have just agreed to everything she wanted and that I didn’t want just to make the marriage happen. But how would that reflect on our marriage later on? I’ve heard of people who refuse to notice the red flags in a relationship because they want to be in one so bad. Or thinking all they have to do is make a change (move in together, getting married, have a kid, have another) to make each other happy or make themselves happy, but that does not seem like a sound method of making a big commitment like this.

I am sad the relationship did not work. I am sad that she is going through the difficult time that she is going through. But I feel that we both need to be brave, to keep going, to work to strive and thrive, even though that means not together. I trust the peace I have encountered since the break-up to mean that I’ve made the right decision.

It's the journey...

As I work more and more in music and learn more and more, I realized this week that music is about the journey. How could it have taken me SO LONG to realize this? At this point, it seems so obvious. Maybe this is something I realized a while ago and just kind of forgot about. But it hit me over the weekend when I was talking to a friend that I was gigging with in Kentucky for a Catholic retreat for teens. I have often mentioned this idea regarding where I am in my faith journey. It’s a similar mentality for me with both disciplines. The closer I get to God and to understanding and living my faith, the more I realize I don’t know and more I want to work at getting better at it. With music, I was telling my students last week that I experience the same sort of thing with music. I’ve still working on new drum feels and rudiments that I’m not very good at, without feeling like there is some place that I’m trying to get to, specifically. “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” All these years of practicing, rehearsing, studying, research, and learning in music, there is no other way of going about than to learn that we continue to work and explore and learn over the years and it seems to never end. But that’s also part of the joy of this journey is that there is so much to explore and to learn and to experiment with. The best we can do is just to try to enjoy it as much as possible as we go along and keep looking for opportunities to challenge ourselves further and enjoy the ride while also recognizing that it’s all part of the choice to live life this way.