The compliment I've received that gave me most sublime joy was when my partner told me I was a man who "sure knew how to live in the moment."
It was a joy, but also a blinding surprise, as I've considered myself shackled by a past and a future, fearing to move on impulse lest the wheels of fortune have their gears buckled.
What I wished I knew 20 years ago is something I believe my band mates already knew, and that is to enjoy the moment as it pulses, not regard the pulses as a continuing diagnostic analysis.
Twenty years ago I was wrapped up tighter than a Tesco sandwich, concerned with how the band was ascending the hill of "success", and whilst participating in all the juvenile fun that is part of touring, always had one pensive eye on the group's trajectory.
I would deny it flatly of course at the time, but I really wanted a success that would give me the opportunity to be alone when I wanted, a foot-long sandwich at the click of a finger, and a better seat on a plane.
And to be regarded as a great songwriter.
So I'd hungrily watch and observe, never fully participate, in the hope of gleaning magic moments that would spark little couplets and choruses. Taking stupid drugs and hiding in a room with a notebook and pencil urging phrases and chord patterns to weep from my stimulated imagination.
Thankfully those books got burnt in New Mexico somewhere.
I was asked by a handsome young buck in my local weeks ago: "What do you stand for?" (This was just after he insouciantly whined: "Why are people regarding you as if you're famous?").
I could only mumble: "Just Ruby, Rosie and myself." But after a few weeks of bitter regret at not having an Oscar Wilde aphorism at the ready, I can only suggest I stand for kindness and participation. Or rather, to err on the side of both. To be fully engaged with a situation, be it musical, romantic, social or performative, and not have an eye keening elsewhere.
I'm not regretful of being another way 20 years ago, but very thankful I've had a yawning revelation in my mid-40s, rather than continue to peer out from under my carapace and plot my next forage through the sand.
Life will become difficult and challenging without your coaxing.
Until then, I quote Warren Zevon: Enjoy every sandwich.
You Am I's new album Porridge & Hotsauce will be released on November 6.Suggest a correction