To Be or Not To Be…A Dreamer or a Teacher of Dreamers
So often in our lives we do what we think is expected of us. We go through the motions at work, in our relationships, and in our dealings with people every day, not because we freely choose to; rather out of a sense of obligation.
Life is too short to walk the path according to what society deems appropriate. Why should we conform? It is in taking risks that we are able to experience life most authentically.
Oddly enough, attending a performance at Preservation Hall in New Orleans, Louisiana inspired these thoughts. The musicians performing ranged in age from 30 years, to 84 years young. The talent and abilities of each of these players was amazing. Each performer was obviously engaged, and enjoying themselves, while exhibiting mastery of New Orleans Jazz. After the performance, the band fielded questions from the attendees. One performer mentioned that he was lucky in that he was able to work his entire life as a performing musician, despite the difficulties that professional musicians often face finding fulfilling, steady employment. His love, and commitment to mastering his craft was worth the risk.
His testimony made me realize the importance of doing what feels right for self, rather than what others expect. Life is boring when we do and say things by script or routine. I feel as if I have reached a crossroads in my career. I enjoy teaching, but I miss collaborative performance fiercely. The logical side of me is seriously considering obtaining a DMA in music education so that I can eventually leave the K-12 side of education. The idealist side of me is screaming for me to get my flute chops back to business and obtain a certificate in flute performance…maybe even a DMA in flute performance. One is the easier path (well, if easier means a daunting amount of extensive research – and paper writing). It is also the path I sometimes feel an obligation to follow for maintaining financial stability and some level of upward mobility…yada yada. The other…the thought makes my heart beat faster in anticipation, excitement…and a bit of fear.
What I’m trying to say is that every day is another chance for us to live our best lives as our best selves. We have to discourage self-doubt and the sense of obligation based on the standards of society, and sometimes the standards and expectations of those closest to us. Do something your future self will be proud of.
Be fearless, and as my brother Tion used to say, “Do it big!”