Student gives online school a chance, existential crisis ensues
Follow-up to my last rant from ages ago.
I've been in "school" since early September now, and I can say it has been positively soul-crushing. Granted, my personal life did go through a massive upheaval literally right as the semester began (the details of which you shall be spared)—nonetheless, being sat at home alone all day watching lectures via zoom is not conducive to a satisfying existence. BUT that's enough whining :>
I've been having this strong feeling that I want to give up on music, really for the sole reason that I don't think anyone needs my musical contributions. I think I mentioned in my other rant that my motivation has shifted from the self-centered desire to be a respected artist to the outward desire to do something actually useful and valuable. This isn't to say music isn't valuable, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that the world is BEGGING for more musicians right now (or ever was!). And, of course, if what you're doing isn't in demand, then money will be tight. I know life is more than money, but I also don't want to live like a cretin between paychecks. I want to be able to provide for a family, too...
I recognize this is a poor time to make sudden and significant life decisions, but the doubt is really eating away at my psyche and making it difficult to keep working hard. I guess at the heart of all this is really the fear of "falling behind", which is ironic because it might just cause me to start falling behind, on a smaller time scale.
Just some thoughts. Comment if you'd like; I know it's a gordian knot of a post.
I don't know anything about making money with violin-playing as I am an ~intermediate amateur, but there's a lot of jobs that the world isn't begging for more of. Do we need another silicone valley start up for smart coffee delivery "leveraging the blockchain" or something? (No offence to anyone doing that - I don't consider what I do particularly essential either.)
Avoid calling people living paycheck to paycheck as cretins. Too many non-musicians do, and *have* a family. Being well-off economically does not make some individuals less of a cretin, anyway.
Change your "timeline."
Your post brought reading Ecclesiastes to mind - inspired by Zelazny's reference to it.
Solid recommend on the Ecclesiastes - It cracks me up any time I'm down.
Linking to your previous existential crisis since I think it provides more context to your post:
If you're bright and motivated, there are lots of things -- besides music -- that you can do that will be highly beneficial to society.
I agree with Paul. High-skill trade work is generally well-compensated, especially if you're the business owner or you're in a high-end specialty.
"I think it's difficult for most people to leave the lifestyle in which they have been raised."
I was an actor for years, in a profession where 95% of my colleagues were unemployed actors. I never made it big. I directed plays and ran a theater in competition with other theaters, and for critics who could shut down a production with a paragraph. I scraped by. I shot and developed photography trying to sell the work in galleries, art fairs, and online - competing with thousands of others who also considered themselves photographer. I sold a few photos, but that was it. I wrote a book of poems that never sold. I wrote a book on education that brings in enough money in royalties every year to enable me to buy a tank of gas for my car. I played and wrote songs with my guitar. I played in restaurants, bars - from upscale and fancy, to dirty dive bars. I got into Bluegrass music and jammed with all sorts of people. I even had a jug band - King Kennedy and the Cruisers. We were great. (Well, I think so) but jug bands aren't really in vogue these days. Now I play a violin. I love it, but I don't know how long this will last (age - 70's, a bad knee, cataracts starting in the eyes, and I just learned I have glaucoma in my right eye, so who knows?) What I do know is this - the whole ride has been and continues to be amazing. I had a writing mentor, Cecil Dawkins who said, "Don't think - write." Nike corporation has an even more direct theme - "Just Do It." Leap in, don't over think the reasons for doing something. Actually, I don't think you have a real choice. As far as personal roller coasters go, I've had ups and downs - marriage, divorce, the strange world of dating in my 40's, and a second marriage (going on 25 years). I had some money, I lost it all, I got some back, and so forth. And now we have this pandemic. Good heavens. Do your best, give your all, and see what unfolds. Professional, semiprofessional, amateur, student, blah, blah, blah. Those are external titles. Fulfilled, happy, challenged, curious, and courageous. Those are reasons to wake up in the morning. So, when you get to my age you want to say, "I did that." Rather than saying, "I wonder what would have happened if. . . ?" As Dylan Thomas wrote, "Do not go gentle into that good night."
Louise Glück was granted a grand prize in literature yesterday. For her poems, which generally aren't suitable for coffee mugs or encouraging students; despite a lifetime of awards and positions, they express no greater confidence.