It's not easy being a musician. All the instability and stress of scrabbling to make ends meet along with the mental instability and stress of putting your most vulnerable self out into the world for others to jeer or cheer as they please. Having a day job takes care of the financial part, obviously. But then you have to fit in the real purpose of your life around the corners. Stealing minutes from Peter to pay Paul so to speak. You find yourself grousing about it all the time! (Or is it just me?) "Not enough hours in the day!" "Why did I let myself get sucked into this job in the first place?" "What happened to my DREAMS????" (said in my most dramatic Sarah Bernhardt delivery.)
I AM grateful. Here I am with a great job that allows me to work from home. This doesn't mean I work less hard. In fact it gets difficult to have boundaries between work and the rest of your life and I'm working on that. But it does mean I save time commuting and I can use my breaks constructively (practicing a song for 15 minutes instead of a smoke or coffee break really makes a difference).
Ugh, but the time when I want to devote to music - mostly after work - is when I'm sooooo tiiiiiiired. Let's face it - I'm not a spring chicken anymore. In my 30's living in New York, I used to have a demanding full-time office job and still would be out til all hours of the night rehearsing or playing a show and then going out AFTER that and still making it to work in the morning (though perhaps a bit on the bleary-eyed side...) But that was (mumble) years ago and I find that by 7pm the last thing I feel like doing is...anything.
But then lately, I've come to realize something.
Lately, I've been trying something a little different. Going ahead and having music dates after work with Jamie (or myself) outside of an official "rehearsal". Yeah, even though it's the last thing I might feel like doing and dinner is making me all cozy-feeling and looking longingly at the couch.
That exhaustion is mostly a mental exhaustion. Which is just as real as physical exhaustion. But you know what's good for that? Music! I don't know why it didn't hit me before. But playing music is exactly the antidote to that tired and cranky feeling I get after a long day at work. Because music is a direct path to the divine - even if you don't believe in anything beyond the physical plane, stay with me. There is something special about playing music that transcends everything. That plugs you into the collective unconscious. That surpasses space and time. And that just makes you feel GOOD.
And I'm blessed to be able to plug into that state anytime I want. My monkey mind just forgets.
Oh I'll still belly-ache a bit to myself after I finally shut down my computer and get dinner going and look longingly at the couch. And make no mistake, sometimes I need my TV nights! I'm not saying I soldier on every day. Chillin' with my man and my kitty while we're deep couch sittin' - now that's some sweetness. But other nights I'm happy and much better off getting tired to the bone playing and singing songs.
- If you have trouble finding time for your creative work, go to Jessica Abel's site about creative focus - such great advice! She has a wonderful workshop called the Creative Focus Workshop starting this week and I highly recommend it. She's also an awesome illustrator with great taste in glasses.
- Check out lots of ways playing an instrument affects the brain here. Then go pick up a guitar or somethin'!)