Credit: Darrow Montgomery

Reading about your ankle and how much you missed walking made me think about how easy it is to get sucked into day-to-day worries and miss the important things. When under pressure, how do you keep a grip on what matters, and how do you learn this life skill? —Peter Horne

There are lots of things in life that are out of our control. The day I broke my ankle, I looked up into the sun, the light caught my eye wrong, and I fell off a 4-foot landing. When I hit the ground, my foot was pretty much up my ass. I felt a bone snap and had the presence of mind not to try to stand. The blessing: It could have been my head, it could have been my wrists, but it was only my ankle.

That said, there are other things that are well within our control. It’s a matter of recognizing the quality people in your life and enjoying the time you get to spend together. I don’t know if this is a life skill that can be “learned.” My life is different from the norm. Writing and recording keeps me isolated and homebound for periods of time; performing and promoting keeps me traveling and surrounded by people for periods of time. When I was younger, I immersed myself in tours and recording, often to the detriment of my normal life. Being away for months made it harder to resume day-to-day life. But once I made a greater effort to stay connected even when working, things were better. Constant communication is important, and the beauty of the digital age is the ability to carry memories and indicators along with us everywhere we go.