It’s been quite awhile since I last posted (March, I believe) and there have been a couple big changes in my life:
Paul (my boyfriend of over six years) proposed to me by Lake Superior exactly a week ago, on May 25th! Even though deep down I knew we were going to be together forever I was still pretty surprised (and happy) when it happened. We are getting married on December 21, 2013 in Duluth. So far it has been really fun making the initial wedding plans… As you probably can tell, I enjoy planning. 🙂 It doesn’t change a whole lot in the day-to-day (we’ve owned a house together for 4 years now) but things do feel different in a subtle way — like I’m seeing the relationship with a new lens or something.
Also, in mid-April I made a big decision to quit my day job in June to pursue music and self-employment. I did a lot of thinking about how to make a transition like that feasible and after many conversations with close friends I began to formulate a plan.
So from here on out, I intend to earn my keep by teaching fiddle lessons, playing a wider variety of shows, coordinating a local Farmers’ Market in the summer, and helping people promote their own events. The last shift at my day job was yesterday so obviously the outcome of this career change remains to be seen. But I am feeling very hopeful that so many things have fallen into place already!
With the help of many loved ones, here is what I have realized so far:
You only live once, so make your job something you enjoy if at all possible! For some reason I developed a weird guilt associated with choosing my vocation, especially one that I enjoyed. The concept of creating my own ideal job made me feel secretly selfish or hedonistic: all over the world people are born into socio-economic situations that they did not choose and they are trapped by things like poverty and disease… So why should I have the luxury of pursuing my dreams? And while I still don’t have an answer to this question, I have realized with the help of a close friend — as long as I contribute to the greater good, I am not wasteful with my resources, and I intend no harm — that I cannot limit my own joy out of some near-sighted concept of “fairness”. I would never ask anyone else to do that on my behalf! Ultimately I think I will be of more service to humanity if my job brings me a sense of zest and passion, because I am more fully alive and motivated.
Figure out what you’re good at and find a way to get paid for it. I have a close friend that owns her own business training horses. We were talking one night about how much she enjoyed her new life as a self-employed person (earning more than I was at my day job), and I uttered rather wistfully, “I wish I had a skill that people would pay me for.” My friend looked at me with disbelief and said, “You DO. You play the violin! Most people can’t do that. You could teach them how and make a living doing it.” Although I had tossed the idea around casually before, I’d never considered teaching fiddle as a legitimate option for employment. In the last month I have started working with four beginning and intermediate students… so far it is going great! I still have a lot to learn about teaching but I know it will get easier over time. I am certainly grateful to my friend for helping me think of teaching lessons as a real option.
Diversify, diversify, diversify. Another close friend of mine is a farmer-in-training, but he’s also an entrepreneur. He has all sorts of plans about how he will use his land wisely to generate income: farm tours, produce sales, even turning a spare building on his property into a conference center! His main objectives are: 1) generate several income streams so that in case one falters he won’t go broke, and 2) keep the overhead low. As much as he’d love to build a brewery on his land, that costs a lot to start and also requires a steady stream of supplies to maintain production. Low overhead = much lower risk if you don’t have a lot of money to throw around. That’s why I am so excited about my multi-faceted approach to self-employment. There are several streams of income involved and all I need are my violin and my computer!
Anyway, I will keep you posted on how things are going occasionally. I’m a pretty terrible blogger in the sense that I only write posts every few months but oh well. 🙂 Be well, and have a wonderful summer everyone!