I sit here typing this when I should be working on something else, preferably something with the possibility of putting money in my pocket, but I was a struck with a severe case of the “don’t want tos.” That’s exactly what it sounds like; I don’t want to be productive at the moment, or at least I don’t want to do what I told myself I would...which is to read an audition for another audio book. It’s actually quite a bit of work with no guarantee of any cash, but that’s pretty much anything in this life.
But, it came to me that perhaps this was a topic with addressing. It’s something I think most of us have heard all our lives; sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do. Usually it involves some sort of payoff or long term goal. For instance, most people with an interest in learning how to play guitar maintain it until they realize how much work is involved. Yes, there are those who are gifted, but most of us put it lots of effort and time in order to become and remain at least competent. Practicing on bass or guitar was never something that was much of an effort for me; I nearly always wanted to get better, particularly when I was a teenager or in my early twenties. But, there’s always been a part of me that rebelled at being told what to do. When I completed the bass program at Musician’s Institute in the late 80s, I probably didn’t work as hard as I could have because I had other factors that were time consuming. I worked a night job because I needed a source of income, and I also had at least a bit of a social life. I can say for certain that I didn’t pursue ear training with nearly as much diligence as I should have, and I’m sure there were other areas in which I didn’t work to my full potential. Why?
Simple. I didn’t want to. Yes, it's a bit more complicated than that. I did learn a lot and put lots of time into my studies and practice, but simply put, there were times when I opted to watch a movie with friends or just relax and unwind for awhile.
Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying. I’ve done plenty of things that weren’t on my checklist of desired activities. Just about any job I’ve ever had fits that category. But, I find that now that I have fewer years in front than I do behind, I wonder a bit about the choices I’ve made and the ones I will continue to make.
For example, next week I restart classes at University of Phoenix online. I earned an Associate’s degree last October, and this will begin the process of obtaining a Bachelor’s in Communications. I really, truly, do NOT want to do it. I recently posted on Facebook that there is a part of me that feels like a spoiled child, kicking and screaming that he doesn’t want to do this. Of course, the same kid was making noise back when I started classes for the Associate’s, and I managed to get through it.
But, I wonder how much of this is a spoiled child, and how much of it is my inner self screaming that I’m making a mistake; that I’m wasting all sorts of time and money in the pursuit of something that will, best case scenario, eventually land me a job that is just a bit better than the ones I’ve had so far. It’s not like I’m chasing a music degree. Hell, I don’t even want to chase one of those. While I enjoy teaching and training people, my experience with music classes or lessons has indicated that most people just aren't as passionate or serious about them as I always have been. Therefore, becoming a music teacher really isn't an option. I could become more of a classical composer, but that's really not where my heart is. No, I'm a songwriter and a performer, and if I can't make it on those terms after giving it my best effort, well...I've mostly reached a level of peace with that. Besides, where my music is concerned, my main desire has always been simply to be appreciated; for people to be moved by what I do. While I'd love to be able to make a living with it, money has been almost a secondary thought. I do wonder why that is, but that’s another discussion.
People talk about listening to your inner voice; about chasing your dreams and doing what makes you happy. If you are happy with your work, you will never work a day in your life, or some other pretentious garbage. That’s nice. But, it’s been my experience that in this world, in order to have food and shelter, one has to already have money, or be able to get some by providing something that generates it. That’s any job, isn’t it? Someone, somewhere decides they need something done and are willing to pay someone else to do it. If my music doesn’t fit that description, I have to find something else that does.
And that’s why, regardless of what my inner voice has to say about it, I will start classes again next week. The jobs I’m able to get with my current skill set are usually not satisfying to me on any level, except for providing a meager living. I need more. So, I go through this process society has put in place, and hopefully, when I’m done, I’ll be able to find someone willing to pay me to do something I find fulfilling.
Still, there are always lessons to be learned if one keeps one’s eyes and ears open. Hopefully, I’ll be able to add to the bit of wisdom and knowledge I have.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have things to do. Some of which I'd rather not.