This morning, I was reading ‘Our Women on the Ground’, a book with essays by Arab women reporting on the Arab world. Curled up under two huge blankets that were swallowing me whole, with hot tea on the cardboard box I use as a bedside table, I was reading about unimaginable horrors and daily tribulations that people live through in places that are not Berlin. I know sadness is relative, I know people everywhere have problems and they matter even though they might not include lack of electricity or civil war. But there was one phrase in the book that struck me, and it was about how the time we’re not enjoying life is the time we are wasting.
I started making music because it made me feel alive. As opposed to other things I considered studying or working in, music and writing didn’t feel bland, they felt different and they made me feel different, too. Nonetheless, after graduating in Songwriting in June, I fell into a black hole trying to figure out how to do anything other than music. For some reason, being a musician suddenly seemed like a ridiculous idea, and when I told people what my major had been, I felt like my degree sounded made up. To join the world of grownups, properly join it, I felt like I had to come up with a plan B, a different career path entirely, that other people – but mostly me – could take seriously.
When I read that sentence in the morning, I remembered what drew me to music in the first place – the joy of it. All the decisions I had made in my life up until this point had been driven by the innate desire to get the most out of my life, and for the first time in months, I felt like that wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Maybe it was actually something to be proud of.
Working in creative industries is hard for myriad different reasons – no one is doing it for the money or the recognition (or actually, maybe many people are but those are the last things you’ll get out of it). But the hardest part is believing that you are a musician, that you are doing something worthy and aren’t just working on some personal vanity project. I forgot that for a few months and spent all of the summer applying to marketing internships instead. In the end, I didn’t take any of the offers because something didn’t sit right with me, even though I couldn’t figure out what it was.
That sentence hit home. Life is about enjoying every single moment. Sure, we do things because we have to. I have a job that pays because I like to eat and have a roof over my head. But I’m not changing my lifestyle or the person I am so that I can start taking myself more seriously. Because, really, nobody wins when people start taking themselves too seriously. I want to have fun and experience joy and do things I believe in, like having coffee walks in the middle of the day and kicking leaves around in the park, and then coming home to play the guitar and write this blog post. And tomorrow, I will wake up and go to work and know that I’m doing it all so I can keep doing the other thing. Being a musician and enjoying every single moment of it.