On Fear


Dear reader, I'm scared. Worried, stressed, and anxious about The Career Of A Freelance Musician. I live with a man who has a Nice Normal Job, and while he sleeps peacefully, I lie awake thinking about how nobody will ever hire me again.

You know the feeling when you're wide awake, it's way too much o'clock, and you have super constructive thoughts on failing at life? Night is obviously the worst time to think, so I'd strongly recommend you to sleep instead if you can. If you can't, here's two things to do instead: play solitare (there's an app for that, no need for actual playing cards. Very handy if you want to stay in bed while someone next to you is sleeping and would little appreciate lights being switched on) - or read a book. No time to think when doing either. I've tried the Constructive Method of writing my worries down, but that creates an uncomfortable paper trail - read in daylight, all those very serious concerns and fears look more like ramblings of a delusional half-wit.

When there's a quieter period in my calendar, it easily feels like the quiet will last forever. That's when I'm most worried, anyway. Busy is good, even if it sometimes gets close to burnout. (No more of that, now. That's a whole other blog post.) So, ladies and gentlemen. In order for you to feel better about your saner selves, I'll share some of my delusional ramblings with you. Here are some thoughts that, after midnight, have entered my drama queen of a head:

  1. Oh no, I don't have almost anything this ________(insert the current time of year)! I have done my last concerts in life and I'll never get to perform again.
  2. They have finally caught me out: I suck at teaching, and I'll soon be fired if all my students won't quit first.
  3. People practice and work insane hours and never get tired, and they still go to the gym, only eat beans and have calm, enlightened minds. I'm the only musician who feels worn out after teaching, and who doesn't always (usually) have the energy to excercise and socialize, and who eats popcorn for breakfast.
  4. X years ago in that project I ________________(insert a thing you should've done different), and now everyone that was there hates me and thinks I'm an incompetent nitwit.
  5. Next year I can't be a pianist any more because nobody wants to play with me, and I'll probably end up working as a cleaner or cashier except they won't hire me because I'm too lazy and I'll die alone and unemployed.
  6. Everyone else has so many fancy gigs - they all work from morning till night and then party like crazy. I must be the only person in the entire music industry who has days off and watches Netflix.

Don't get me wrong - a lot of the time I'm optimistic about the future, grateful for the projects I've already done, and happy with the stuff I'm currently working on. I know very well that some have more and fancier stuff, and others less. I also know that You Should Not Compare Your Life With Other People's. But seriously, who doesn't? Another wisdom I've heard is Just Work Hard And Things Will Happen. No Need To Worry, Regret, Anything.

Bullshit, I tell you. I exist, therefore I worry.

Conclusion: A part of being a freelance musician (for me) is being awake on some nights playing solitare on my phone, whilst posting only happy stuff to Instagram. And somehow life just happens to continue, and there just happens to be new mornings, opportunities, and ideas. And new exciting games in Google Play for the sleepless nights to come.