Still unsatisfied…

I know I just posted, on this same topic, this morning.  But, I’m still thinking about it, and apparently I’m still in insomnia mode, so congratulations, it’s your lucky day, you get to read some more wandering thoughts on the topic.  🙂

When I was in college, maybe a semester or two after I had dropped my music major, I was taking some sort of music history class as a gen ed requirement.  There was a guest presenter one day who was a grad student in the music department, I think studying composition.  At the time, I thought he was sort of weird.  I mean, he was in his 30s and had given up some other career to come study music, basically start all over.  But I remember he said it was because he’s tried other things, but music is the only thing that he can be happy doing, so he has to do it, no matter how impractical it is.  I thought, you’re crazy, you have to do something that pays the bills, you can’t just go back to college and rack up some more debt for something that is so…impractical.  But deep down, I got what he was saying.  It resonated with me, and I didn’t do anything about it.

Like I said this morning, teaching is fun and challenging.  I enjoy it.  But that is all!  I don’t know what word I’m searching for, but there’s something more than “enjoy” to be experienced!  Like during my senior year of college marching band, we came onto the field for our first pregame show of the season, and the crowd just swelled with cheering and applause.  Or in the orchestra for my high school musicals, getting to be part of such a big project.  Or when I auditioned for the University of South Dakota (where I didn’t end up going, obviously), and I totally nailed it, and found out a few weeks later that the audition had earned me a good scholarship.  Or when I auditioned for the Celebration Iowa jazz band, and actually got chosen as an alternate, despite playing an instrument that was not my first and facing my fear of jazz improv.  Or conquering all that church music for my granparents’ anniversary mass, despite the fact that it was much harder than anything I had played on the piano before.

I read these things, and I have a feeling they sound kind of dorky and weird to you.  I probably seem to you like that grad student seemed to me that day!  🙂  But I honestly have not experienced one moment in teaching, or anything else for that matter, that even comes close to any of those moments.

It has to do with the risk factor.  It’s so much work to perform like that.  It’s a rush to audition for something, but a good portion of that rush is fear.  It’s a huge risk to work so hard, put yourself out there in a scary position, and have a good chance of getting told no.  Success in anything performance-related, music or acting or whatever, depends so much on luck, just as much as ability and hard work, if not more.  There are hordes of people all wanting the exact same thing, and not all of them will get it.  Sometimes I think that it was never an issue of me being not good enough, it was just that I was scared.  The clarinet teacher that told me I wasn’t good enough, well, I didn’t practice nearly enough for him.  He told me two hours a day would be good, I maybe practiced two hours a week, especially at the end when I was giving up.  If I had practiced seven times that much, I probably would have been “good enough.”  But I knew that being good enough wouldn’t necessarily make me successful.  Teaching was a safer option, because you got the education, you get a job, and you teach.  Nothing risky about it.

Sometimes I wish I had never laid eyes on a piano, or never went to church and heard the choir as a little kid.  Maybe I wouldn’t know about the “something more” that I can’t name.  Maybe a challenging, fun, enjoyable job would be enough.  Obviously there’s no way to go back and redo all the choices that I made that pulled myself away from that “something more.”  I can only go forward from here.  I wish I knew what that meant.  Do I just go on doing what I’m doing and push down this desire for more?  Do I totally change my plan at this late stage?  Do I wait it out and just hope it will go away?  I don’t know if it will go away or not.  All I know is that this week, I am tired of summer, but I also wish I weren’t going back to being a teacher in a few weeks.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Aug 02, 2007 @ 08:02:03

    I know what you are feeling. I felt and still feel the same way about teaching. Only I can’t figure out why no one else can see that I would be an asset in their school as a full time teacher rather than a sub! Keep wondering about your life; it never ends. Sometimes everyone is more content with choices made in the past than at other times.


  2. Doris
    Aug 06, 2007 @ 15:28:35

    I also kind of understand what you are saying. I always knew I was going to be a nurse. When people would ask why I decided on such a job with such terrible hours it was not a dicision it was just what I was supposed to do. The Pediatric nurse part was harder. I was more scared but like you knew what I was doing was not all I could be or what I was supposed to do. I made that leap of blind faith when I quit at Marengo and went to the University almost 20 years ago. It has been 16 years since I left the pediatric department but I am still a Peds nurse at heart. Those pediatric patients are my reason for everything else I do. I don’t know how to know when the right time is but in hind sight I made the right choices at the right times for all those big changes even becoming a parent. But hind sight is usually 20/20. Love you and will stand behind any choice you make.


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