Thursday, May 25, 2006

All the time in the world.

I was discussing with a co-worker a young singer who has an amazing voice and should be watched as I JUST KNOW her career is going to be epic. I was thinking about this singer as she's had what seems to be a pretty charmed life. Wealthy family, beauty, talent, the kind of life that makes for a very unhurried and unworried person who knows she has the time and means to pursue whatever she wants. Of course, she's also a very hard worker and has made her opportunities, but the conversation got me thinking about what I would do if I had the means and leisure to pursue any path I wanted.

Would I still sing? I don't think I would care nearly so much. Why would I have to if I didn't feel the desperate need to bring something valuable to my life? So much of my desire to sing has to do with a desperation to instill my existence with meaning, to not let my dumbass day job define me. I MUST have that flip side of my life that lends interest to my person.

However, if I had means to lead whatever kind of life I wanted, I think I would be more interested in the things that keep me at my job, i.e., the money to travel, to read, to knit, to cook, to keep my pets, to have a home that I love. These things drive me so much, they keep me working very long hours. I wonder if I would still want to have a singing career if the every day life I would lead if solvent could give me the kind of contentment having a goal does. But would it? Am I so shallow? Do I only sing because I want to be seen as interesting, cool? I know I love it, but is it a vanity fest? Is it that important that I tell people at work, when they ask what I'm doing over the weekend, that I have the opera so they don't think that THIS JOB is the only thing I have in my life? If I wasn't at work and there weren't any people to impress, would I still want to sing for its own sake, or am I just trying to not sound pathetic?

Of course, these are all ridiculous questions, as I'll always have to work, but can open, worms everywhere.


Christian said...

I think you'd still want to sing. I think you and I, if not everyone, needs to have a goal, something to strive for, something rather difficult, just out of reach. Something to work for, and to get satisfaction from when it's conquered. Or one step of it is conquered. (I don't think I spelled that right). It's the hunt that satisfies more than the kill. I don't know if mere contentment would be enough...

What if I didn't shotput? I'd probably waste my time making illuminated manuscripts, or oil paintings or something. I couldn't just work and come home, even though my job is fulfilling.

ible said...

Well said. I absolutely agree, after spending many years pursuing a goal that I can never perfect, but that I love.
If you attain a goal, what is left?


Cassandra said...

I agree with Christian but . . . I have OFTEN posed the same question while wondering if this music stuff is not one big ego trip. What a pathetic thing to dedicate one's life to (I know, a preposition ending a sentence). We musicians are continually evaluating ourselves in light of others. It's one thing to have a goal and jump the hurdles and quite another to be driven by the dillusion (I don't think I spelled that right) that people who are better than us (more accomplished and recognized) are automatically more happy and fulfilled. As a professional musician, am I accepting poverty, late night rehearsals, and 4 Masses EVERY week-end because I want others to validate my musical gifts to the world? Being a funeral organist leaves alot of downtime for thinking about this stuff and I'm inches closer to becoming a cashier clerk at the French version of Safeway. At least I'd have my weekends free. I think. Anyway, at least I'd make minimum wage. What would I do with so much money? I digress. Or are we Americans so ingrained with the need to compete that no matter what goals we set for ourselves, there's always someone we'd like to outdo? Suze, life a battle. You might as well fight your way to the top in something you genuinely enjoy.

ible said...

Excellent, thoughtful blog.
I'm reminded of the (extremely) wealthy physician who told me that she envied me because I had a passion and followed it.