When Your Passion Becomes Your Job

When I began writing this blog 10 days ago, if you were to tell me that 10 days later the site would reach 1,000 views I would have said that you were nuts!  However, it’s true, and I am very flattered to have an audience.  It’s not the reason I started writing these posts, but it is nice to feel that I am actually having an open conversation with somebody!It’s Friday, and Friday is one of my favorite days.  Not for the reason you are thinking; I basically work 7 days a week, so there is no real “Friday” in the sense that it is the “last day” of the week.  It’s because I take off the suit, leave the briefcase at home, take off from my “other” jobs, grab my trombone and go hang out with a bunch of college students who are dedicated to doing nothing else but getting better at playing trombone.  They are filled with the same passion I was when I was that age, and it is a blast to be around!  I feel as if I find my center every Friday.Now, I actually teach trombone at 2 universities 3-4 days a week, but Friday is a really cool day, since I see all the students at once in a huge group (aka “Trombone Choir”).  We play some great music that we will perform soon, and we also play individually for each other, receiving constructive feedback from all in attendance.  It is truly a day to recalibrate and simplify, if only for a while.  I envelope my life with nothing but playing and teaching an instrument that I adore, and being around others who feel the same.  It is awesome!What makes it more awesome than ever is that it isn’t the only thing I do anymore; I have many different “lives” I lead, and many different sources of income.  I used to play trombone primarily and, for reasons I am still trying to figure out to this day, did not enjoy it when it was my prime source of income as much as I do now.  When it comes down to it, I think that journey of self-discovery is the catalyst for this blog.

To be able to play and teach trombone at a high level, I still need to actively practice every day, which I happily do.  Actually, practicing has never been more enjoyable to me than it is now.  The 1-1 1/2 hours I get to escape my day and just play my horn at the highest level possible is a chance to find my balance; the day I stop doing this is the day I lose myself.  Interestingly enough, every Friday I leave the university saying “wow, wouldn’t it be cool to just go back to only doing this!”.  Somehow, though, I think it may ruin the whole experience….maybe?

I love all of the jobs that I spend my time doing, but there comes a point with all of them where I yearn to escape..so I do!  If I am having a “WTF” day as an administrator, I can heal the soul by grabbing the trombone.  If I am having a bad practice day, I can design a brochure for my summer festival.  Each “escape” makes me feel free (not “locked in”) and benefits the other work I do.  I also approach the other work with a fresh perspective and joy, very thankful that I have the outlet; and each outlet presents its own challenges and learning curves.  I know it sounds a bit weird….I am still trying to figure it out.  Call it an identity crisis, I don’t know!

My wife, who is super passionate about yoga, was discussing this with me earlier.  Her friend (who noticed how great at yoga my wife was becoming) asked her why she didn’t try to open her own studio.  My wife replied that she loves being a student and learning it; she’s more passionate about it that way.  If she started teaching it and it became a job, it would lose its luster.

The bottom line is that when a passion becomes a “job”, it takes a different form (that isn’t good or bad; it just is).  I know that many of my friends who read this blog are some of the best musicians on this earth….Some may agree with me and some may not.  All I am saying is that my level of passion is linked to the freedom that occurs from not HAVING to do the stuff I do if I choose.  The less I have to do it, the more I want to do it.

I’m interested in your thoughts regarding your passion as it pertains to your job!

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