changing trains

another end of the year is approaching, like a slow moving train across the midwest field of states- constant, graceful yet often amazingly noisy and upon close examination.  three more days, then it'll be another decade over, of twenty-first century. it seems not long ago that everyone was worried about y2k- which turned out to be a silly worry after all.  i wonder how many things we worry/fuss about share that nature of y2k- not really real, however becomes real due to the amount of attention we decided to give to the issue.  and with the imposed finality of the calendar turning, it is difficult to not to become part of the 'reflection and resolution' crowd.  what is it that urges us to make such commitment to make huge changes? i suppose different things to different people, but all i can say is that the gyms across the world are always much busier during january than april.

i hear from one of my newly made acquaintance (it is a funny world of mine, often i do not get to meet a person that i get to know through writing/email/posting/etc.  there are a few and yes, it does seem odd at times.  however, with amount of people i dearly love and yet do not spend much time in person, it is not too much of a surprise, i suppose.  the building of a particular context with the individual always leads to variety of interaction and this person who i find interesting, lives in yyz yet i have not had the pleasure of face-to-face. perhaps it will change in the new year) that he has decided to give up music and go into the world of money, particularly investment banking (enrolling courses and such).

it is often at the end of the year that one is bombarded with difficult questions.  especially with distant family members and name-forgotten-'friends' at mingling and parties.  what is going on in your life? how is your job? how is your personal life?  are you getting married? have you finished your degree? and with all the comparison that happens inevitably (the news of the successful cousins, friends' new spanking red sports car, family engagement/marriage announcement, you name it), it becomes almost impossible to remain completely accepting of a self: as is.  motivation is a fine thing- seeing your friend 20 lbs lighter may give you an incentive to be more active and healthy.  hearing someone's good news about paying off the student loan may give that needed push to make a lump sum payment to one's own student loan.  learning new courses, sharing friends, it's all good thing.

and then there are news such as: i cannot sustain my life financially in the city as musician, therefore, i am selling everything related to music to pay for 900 bucks textbook.

i thought he is a very valiant man.  not many people i know are able to acknowledge such situation- the financial difficulty related to arts-related occupations.  often i hear people making a debut recital in a big city (nyc or london, for instance) well after they have completed their training (nice five years break and such).  or organizing one's own concert is another frequent event i hear (though it is never mentioned to the general public).  i dont think there's anything wrong with it.  but often the problem is that people get stuck in a ever-hopeful stage for years, without ever becoming realistic. sadly, many of us, after years of struggle and hope, we fold and go into separate world, becoming someone who we did not wanted to be: though i dont mean to be critical, lots of us will become the local music teachers or ends up finding employment in a new field. i think career change is fine, even inevitable, especially if one happens to be one of those super-focused youngster, the ones you see in pre-university music programs and olympic hopefully gymnasts, etc.

even right now, i can count number of people i know who are very talented and hard-working, yet keeps a day job to pay for life.  i am one of them in a sense that most of my work in yyz concerns cables and demo recordings.  my crazy passionate aussie mad flutter is right now selling high end l'occitane products in yul, though she's brave enough to return to banff with even more hopes and energy.  my good friend who is a beautiful cellist (or beautiful, period) had changed course and is now done with a law school.  another percussionist friend also went to cornell law with a nice full ride and i think he's now in chicago.  and many of them are still trying to find a place to be, to become who they are and who they want to be.

And many who were in school with me are now simply silent. i dont know what have became of them. most likely they have left the world of music as a viable source of income and never looked back.  and it's not a bad place. one need to try many things before one finds the 'right' fit.  and then of course, there are 'kiddies' who still live on 'family' subsidy.  though they would never admit, there are a few that i know who could not make the ends meet without daddy allowance, which i find a bit bizarre.  when would they grow up or have they simply accept their 'lifestyle' subsidy as a fact of life? i understand a kiddie will always be a kiddie to a parents but well-into 30s and 40s? well, at least they have generous parents, i suppose (may be i am jealous).

so what about this man's decision that is heart breaking? well, he's selling everything. music. strings. bow. instrument.  and it feels that (though i hope to be wrong) once one have sold one's instrument, it's really a curtain drawn- it is unlikely that one will return and purchase an instrument with same dedication and excitement, and the financial commitment.  and that's the point that made corner of my heart tug.

ive been lucky enough to have access to instruments though i have not owned a piano in a dog's life.  often i go weeks/months without playing but it always works out somehow.  there are people who simply are helpful for no particular reason. even here in england, not only i have access to an instrument, i even get to do a concert with friends. how nice.  and though most of my income last semester was from recording and housemanaging, there are more playing coming on way and i cant complain. i quite enjoy getting involved in all aspects of music life- playing, recording, house managing, putting together programs, advertising, etc.  and if i have to leave music and go do something else, i think i would be alright. though i would miss it.

end of the year. decisions made. and i am bidding a good wish for the young valiant friend of mine, who made a fresh decision, a big one. could not have been easy.  best wishes for him. and for everyone else, let's stay hopeful and active.  i wish to make all non-musical and musical experiences to be part of who i am; who and how i became who i am is interesting and important, often frustrating. however, once that's cleared out, i believe it is much more successful to be happy and satisfied.  finding happiness with internal self.  holding onto a few hopes, i bid everyone a happy holidays and greets for the new year. for the things it will bring to us to challenge, provoke and enjoy.  life is grand, despite of a few bumps on the road.

1 comment:

  1. good luck to him. It's a huge decision to part with a good string instrument. I admire his courage and wish him well for his bravery!