As any twelve-step program will tell you, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. If you have ever had a problem, you may be familiar with the phrase, "Easier said than done."
Admitting you don't know what to do with your life after three years of college is hard to do. I have invested tens of thousands of dollars that I don't have in a life I am no longer pursuing. Two years into music school, I realized that music school made me HATE music. One of the scariest things I have ever done was to admit this to my parents. What made this particularly hard was waiting for the inevitable, "I told you so," from my very practical mom.
Musical performance is a risky career direction. The economy is bad right now, so people have less money to spend on frivolous things like going to see some chick sing old jazz songs. Part of me knew that, the same part of me that knew I could never become a tiger, no matter how often I practiced my jungle stalking skills. But, part of me refused to believe this, the same part of me that wished to be a tiger in the first place.
This part of me can only be described as hope. I used to believe that hope and faith were the same thing. I treated them the same way in my thoughts. To hope for something was to have faith that it would one day be true. The world has made a cynic of me, though, and the distinction between the two has become clear and cloudy at the same time. After two years of spending all of my time with musicians I began to realize that hope was as silly a thing as believing that wishing on the evening star would turn me into a large jungle cat.
Music school showed me how hard it was to be a musician. I considered my professors to be successful musicians, but the more time I spent with them, the more I realized that success as a musician wasn't what I had envisioned. Each of these musicians shared a commonality that scared me. They were teachers. Even though they gigged regularly, had excellent technique and style, they had to supplement their income with teaching. I didn't want to be a teacher. I had specifically gone into musical performance, NOT musical education. My fate seemed to be sealed, though, being a musician meant making some sacrifices. Sacrifices I wasn't willing to make.
So, sixty thousand dollars later, I had lost my passion for music. I stopped hanging out with friends. I started sleeping though classes. I even made myself so sick, I had to practically be carried to dinner one night. Sixty thousand dollars later, I admitted to my parents, and to myself, that I had a problem. I didn't want to go to music school anymore. I didn't want this life.
Admitting this wasn't easy, and the life I have led since hasn't been easy either. You see, admitting I didn't want to go to music school also meant that I was admitting I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Whatever I had felt inside though out the years, I had always maintained a sense of purpose and direction to the world. Now that facade was broken and I was forced to begin the search for a new path. I have started down many roads, only to run back screaming the way I had come. Today marks a fresh attempt at tackling my problem. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Maybe this blog is the second footfall.