On being fulfilled

Life is hard.

That’s what they tell you anyway. Life isn’t fair.

The older I get (and I know some of you scoff at me saying I’m old, but HEY it’s all relative…) the more I realize that’s true.

But you know what. As much as you disrespect my profession…and YES most people do–(At a wedding gig once, “can you play, get a real job?” “I guess you must really like the…flexibility…” “I played bassoon in high school so I could do your job.”)—but

As much as you disrespect my profession, I don’t sit around wondering if I’ve made a difference in the world.  I know I have. I’ve had over 100 students over the years.  I’ve made a difference to all those kids…some more than others. Some will probably remember our violin lessons for their entire lives, and that’s amazing. And a lot of those kids are amazing too and I will remember THEM for the rest of my life.

I also don’t sit around wondering what the meaning of life is. Beyond being “42”…(Hitchhikers’ Guide reference, of course.)

I mean really. Once you’ve played Mahler 2 and Mahler 3, you don’t ponder the meaning of life anymore. You know. You’ve experienced it. Or late Beethoven quartets. Or the opening of the Brahms violin concerto. I could go on.

Maybe I’ll never be rich. Maybe I’ll never even really be happy (because, I’m an artist…I can’t actually be HAPPY because that would be against my grain…against everything I STAND for…I have to be an overly dramatic, narcissist, tortured soul…)…but I won’t wonder about the meaning of life, or wonder if I’ve made a difference to the world.

I know the world is a better place because I play the violin.  I know that the world is a better place because I teach people to play the violin.

You can look down on musicians. You can pretend we are stupid, or frivolous, or that what we do is irrelevant.

But I know better. I know what I do is one of the most important things in the world. I know that I make the world a better place, and that the world is a better place because people make music.

And don’t tell me about my gifts…and my talents. I worked hard to get to where I am. I sacrificed more than you can ever know (unless you are also a musician), and yes…the violin will never love me back the way I love it.  But that’s okay, because my husband understands too.

It’s not a gift or a talent. It’s just…

The only reason to hang around this world, right? And if you’re not a musician or an artist…don’t you listen to music an awful lot anyway? Most people seem to.

13 thoughts on “On being fulfilled”

  1. I don’t leave real comments on your blog often (if I ever have) but this is hands down the best entry you’ve written. Just FYI.

  2. That’s sad that people dis what you do! I think you are amazing and it’s such a talent and gift! I think musician is one of the ultimate professions…

    1. Oh thanks 🙂 Though like I said, (and don’t take this the wrong way!)–it bugs me sometimes when people say it’s a gift–mostly because sometime they mean it that, well, it’s just my gift and I should be happy to share it for everyone anytime..rather than something I work really hard for. But I know you mean it as a sweet compliment 🙂

  3. Spectacular post! I am instrumentally challenged (those piano lessons were short-lived), but I still adore music! Wish life could be set to a soundtrack! A song for every mood–those songs that cheer you up, and the ones that wallow with you. Music is a gift. Thanks for regifting it.

  4. Serious time now….

    I once was in a group setting (was joining the catholic church and was in a class) where people were telling the value of their jobs. Of course, there were nurses, a doctor, people who volunteered their time, teachers, and me… The sleezy management consultant. It was horrible.

    You’re a teacher, you’re someone who gives their time and talent to others – often in their times of greatest joy and greatest sorrow. It’s very selfless.

    Hang your head high.

    1. I don’t do it for self less reasons though–I do it because I love it. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t get paid a proper living wage…one of these days maybe I will…maybe I will! *shakes fist*

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