Sometimes attaining senior status means finding the time to reconnect with an unrequited passion. For the past few years I’ve been at that awkward age I call Senior Tweener. I have adult children, but haven’t attained grandparent status yet. Instead of attending sports events and dance recitals, I actually had time to pursue an old dream.
Ever since elementary school I wanted to be a rock musician. During my high school years I helped out with a garage band down the street from my home, and picked up mini-guitar lessons during their breaks. I joined my first band in my freshman year at, and in 1980 I moved to to pursue music as a career.
But life doesn’t always go as planned. A few months after my move, I was in an accident that shattered my left wrist. After 23 months of casts, braces, bone graft surgery, and rehab, I couldn’t play guitar for more than 15 minutes without severe stabbing pains. Over the next five years I tried everything, and finally resigned myself to the fact that the dream was over.
|L-R, Robbie Walsh, RJ McDonnell|
Twenty-five years later I visited a guitar collector friend and told him my story. He found me a Fender guitar that was exceptionally easy to fret. In 2007, at the age of 53, I enrolled in lessons at a local music studio, and rekindled my passion in the process. Last month I recorded my first commercial song, playing with Robbie Walsh, a lead guitarist who toured extensively with Noelof The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Chubby Checker and Jethro Tull.
The song is called The Concert Killer, and is the soundtrack to a mystery novel trailer. You can hear it at www.rjmcdonnell.com. It’s never too late to make dreams come true.