Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time, time, time

In planning what I want to do versus, or in conjunction with, what I need to do, I dream of finding a perfect balance.

I have a job in an office where I work all day, every day, Monday through Friday, except for holidays, snow days, and the occasional odd situation (earthquake, electrical outage, World Bank protest, etc.). My free time is my own. I never have to work overtime or bring work home. When I leave the office, I'm done until I return. I've had stretches when I dreamed about work -- dreary dreams involving typing on a computer -- but I think that happens to everyone. (Doesn't it??)

There have been periods since I started working full time when my glorious free hours yawned before me, but the deeper I have gotten into the piano, the more spoken-for my time has seemed. At first, merely playing the piano was exciting to me because I had spent so many years thinking I was too over the hill to even try. As practicing has become more a part of my routine, playing time has changed from "play time" to work. It's tiring. I wonder often if it's worth it.

But as necessary and even inherently gratifying as my office job is, it is not the core of my life. If I didn't have this job, little would be missing from my intellectual and emotional sense of well-being, but if I couldn't play music, life would seem empty indeed. On the other hand, if I don't work really hard at the piano, my ability to pay the bills isn't affected.

I don't know what the answer is. All I know is it's a challenge. The challenge is not so much making time for the things I want to do but arranging the best frame of mind for doing them. One simply can't learn or be deeply creative when feeling rushed, with niggling thoughts about other priorities. The mind must be clear, calm, alert, and fully focused on the task at hand.

I do know one thing, though: I don't want to wake up one day 20 years from now and realize that I didn't even try to do what I wanted to do.


Bill said...

I like reading your blog and listening to your recordings. You are both a talented pianist and writer and have the ability to express yourself succinctly both musically and in the written word. That said, you seem to have a high degree of angst about your musical path.

I'm not sure what your ultimate goal is as you already play at a level that most folks would kill to achieve and you have mentioned before that you don't want to teach or perform professionally. I hope you can find happiness in just enjoying your talent and the beautiful music that you make.

Harriet said...

Thank you, Bill. I'm trying to do that.

Harriet said...

PS: As to teaching/performing: I think I *would* like to do those things but only if I could do them well. At this particular stage of my life, though, I would not want to rely on them for income -- for a number of reasons.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is an encouragement to me as I continue my path as an amateur pianist and cellist. I'm in my 50s and music became a bigger part of my life when my children became more independent. Sometimes it's hard to stay focused and disciplined with all the other demands in my life, but I never want to give it up.