IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE HARD
"Love what you do, and you'll never work a day in your life."
I think the people who keep perpetuating this quote are a) people who don't love what they do; b) people who have wealthy patrons/parents who pay their bills, or c) work addicts who don't realize they're even working anymore.
I'm in the aftermath of leaving my other job and navigating that transition. We prayed, we got remarkably clear answers, and I jumped in faith and obedience. We travelled to Nashville to work on what will become our new record. We are back home right now. The school year has started for everyone here, and I'm thinking of last year, and the eleven years before that, when I spent this month setting up my classroom and greeting coworkers I hadn't seen for two months. Excitedly welcoming my students back to my little corner of the building. Finding themes to inspire them, new material, ways to make the learning and teaching my own. Powering through plans and strategies and tasks that I was good at and doing them efficiently.
Instead of leaving each morning to get to a job where someone is expecting me, I am at home. I look around our apartment and talk to myself (literally, out loud, like a crazy person) instead of coworkers or students. I ponder the enigma of how anyone makes a living making music in 2017. I check Facebook for the tenth time. I get lost in a tangled web of to-dos, unsure of where to start. I spend hours on one task, thinking about it way harder than I need to. I resist the urge to clean up the mess in the kitchen instead of figuring out a world I don't fully understand; the cleaning would be faster and more tangible and gratifying (side note: i generally hate cleaning). I am alone. alone. alone. all. day. long.
(...no one ever said I wasn't dramatic.)
This is where the internal litany begins:
"What was I thinking?!"
"I'm terrible at this."
"I have no business doing this."
"Everyone else has this all figured out."
"Was this a mistake?"
"Other people have no problem hustling."
"I never asked to be self-employed!"
Here's the thing. We talk a lot about the idea of calling. Of dream jobs. Of following your passion. And we are sold a picture of being truly happy when we find the thing we're meant to do. We might, indeed, find a deeper and greater happiness when we get close to it. But that happiness comes in spurts. In highs. In successes. We're missing the pages of the dream-job manual where it says "Oh, and by the way, you're probably going to have to do about 47 things you don't like in order to do the thing you really do like." Or in my case, "So you're an independent artist? You are also an accountant and a business manager and a marketing mogul and a stylist and a web designer and a superhuman who doesn't need sleep, right?"
Most importantly, I think the manual needs a giant title page that says, "You might be really bad at this at first."