The Way We Get By: Moaning Is Just Trying to Stay Thankful

Frontman Sean Solomon talks his daily effort to practice gratitude.

I guess it’s a little abstract, but something that’s really been helping me through all of this is practicing gratitude. I’ve been trying really hard to realize what I have, and be fortunate for it. A lot of people I know, including my family, have been really freaked out and worried that they’re getting sick or that something is going to go wrong; I just keep trying to remind myself and the people around me to stay present. I think what keeps happening is, people are worried about things that haven’t happened. So every day I’ve been trying to practice gratitude in a way where I remind myself of what I’m lucky to have, even if it’s simplistic like having a place to live today or having something to eat today. 

I think in the last year or two, I’ve been trying to remind myself of gratitude, or mindfulness, but since this has been happening, it’s been forcing me to reflect on the positives of my situation. If I am consumed by the negative things in the world, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t do anything. Every day, I try to make a list of things that are positive, whether it’s that I liked the dinner I cooked or I watched a cool thing on Netflix or whatever. That’s been really helpful for me. 

Everyone has the right to complain — this is a horrible, scary time and everyone is living in a lot of fear. But any time I get upset, I realize how trivial my problems are compared to those of homeless people or people living in ICE camps, or people in nursing homes. A lot of my problems surrounding coronavirus are like, my album came out and I didn’t get to have a release show, and it’s hard to buy the record — all these things that, at this moment in time, are unimportant and, in a lot of ways, narcissistic. I’ve been trying not to be consumed by self-pity, and have empathy for other people and gratitude for my situation. 

I’m staying at my girlfriend’s house because my roommate works at a hospital. The first week of this, he was in self-quarantine because he was exposed to someone with coronavirus; now every day he’s exposed to someone with coronavirus. So it’s been really difficult for me because I’m not at home, and I miss my house and my things. But every day at dinner, my girlfriend and I try to list at least three things that have been positive from the day. I think when you do that, you’d be surprised at how fortunate our lives are. It’s interesting to hear that people’s complaints are that they’re bored, or they only have mac ‘n cheese and Doritos to eat. Ultimately, for every complaint you have, there’s someone who has it worse and you should be grateful for that mac ‘n cheese and Doritos. 

I’ve been trying to take walks and focus on my mental health. It’s almost like fight or flight — as soon as this happened, I started doing yoga and doing all of this spiritual stuff I used to laugh at. When I was going on a walk recently, I noticed this guy in a wheelchair who had been sitting in the same position for two days in a row. It really freaked me out, so I called an ambulance because I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t tell if he was alive. The ambulance came, and they just shined a light on him; he sort of moved a little bit, and they drove away. It was this really shocking reminder that the small things like shelter are important. The next day I brought him some food — I stayed six feet away from him — and he’s moved since then. He’s hopefully doing good. 

I think it’s easy for artists, and a lot of people, to be like, “I lost my job, and I can’t walk to the coffee shop and say hello to my friends,” but at the end of the day, if a person is even reading this article right now, they have something to be grateful for. 

The coronavirus has hit many people financially, and it’s been especially tough on musicians who rely on touring to support themselves. If you’re able and inclined, check out Moaning’s Bandcamp and order a T-shirt, some vinyl, or whatever they’ve got on offer. Every little bit helps.

(Photo Credit: Michael Schmelling)

Moaning is a rock band from LA. Their second album, Uneasy Laughter, was released March 2020 via Sup Pop.

(Photo Credit: Michael Schmelling)