Many music fans are also musicians. This post today is for you.
My musings about having a day job today on the car ride home had me thinking about what we consider sacred, and what we do not. If I could give any piece of advice to an aspiring musician (I mean, I am one myself, but if you would still like some advice anyway, here it is), I would say to seek out a day job that you:
1) do not take home
2) is different enough from your craft that you can learn how to compartmentalize the tasks into something much different
3) introduces new perspectives and people into your life
Truthfully, my day job is a bit tough these days. I am a high school teacher, so, of course, I take my job home. Every year, as many teachers know, it's a real challenge to keep the work/life balance. At the beginning of the teaching season, we are determined to make it work, but, almost as if on cue, by late October, we are really starting to feel like we are living and breathing teaching. This year, I hope to keep the sacred parts of my life, well, sacred. I'll be honest with you - when I am not songwriting, I turn into a pretty depressed person. The second, and I mean the second a new idea sparks in my brain, I am as elated as I have ever been. And the cycle repeats itself. Over and over. And I wouldn't have it any other way. So, how do we keep these parts of our lives sacred? I believe, just like keeping a healthy relationship with a friend or significant other, we have to devote the time and attention to it. I have felt the guilt of staying at home and "attempting" to write many times, but that guilt is beginning to wear off as I have began thinking of it as not a gift to myself, but a gift to the craft of writing. I have to show up for it to happen, and showing up takes energy, time, and effort. I have to honour it. I have to prioritize it.
A friend of mine got me thinking about the idea of compartmentalization. I think that all the challenges we deal with in life can feel extremely overwhelming - especially if you are an artist type who is an emotional sponge, and also one who takes everything very seriously. Truly, our writing can never really separate from the rest of our lives, more often that not, it's an emotional release, a reflection, a "take" on what we're currently going through. However, I am learning to think of writing as its own entity, teaching as its own entity, and, I mean, it's only been 4 days, but I think it's beginning to work.
How do you cope with your artist/work/life balance?
"Now that your picture's in the paper being rhythmically admired
And you can have anyone that you have ever desired
All you gotta tell me now is why, why, why, why?
Welcome to the working week
Oh, I know it don't thrill you, I hope it don't kill you
Welcome to the working week
You gotta do it till you're through it, so you better get to it"
- Elvis Costello, "Welcome to the Working Week"