Your Comfort Zone Sucks
One thing about this project that I didn’t fully anticipate was the consequences of pushing myself so far out of my comfort zone.
In fact, I didn’t really consider I had a comfort zone. I tend to live by my own rules. Like, the idea of playing drums on the street as my sole source of income is something I am very passionate about. The idea of being 100% self sufficient and doing it 100% on my own terms cuts to the heart of who I am. My personal standard of my own integrity is defined in the proceeding sentence. That doesn’t mean, however that this is practical.
But I hate practical. Who says it has to be practical?
So, how to reconcile this idea of integrity with the “practical” requirements of being able to pay your way and survive with a roof over your head? And why should I worry about it anyways? Why don’t I just do exactly what I want?
I’ll tell you why. Other People. There are other people in the world. I’m in love with another person.
Maybe I could have written this blog for years concentrating on drumming and how to make a living as a street musician. Looking at the world of buskers and street performers I am continually inspired by their dedication to living outside the box. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have some questions for them.
Are all street musicians homeless? Do they pay taxes? Live in boxes? Can they afford to eat organic food or do they have to eat McDonalds because it’s all they can afford? And most importantly, are they in love? Do they have someone who depends on them to pull their weight?
I do. And that fact requires a lot of inspection. Loving another person and being responsible for their happiness and survival do not necessarily go hand in hand. I could just “do what I want” and play drums and write my blog and probably talk forever about all the experiences I have in that arena. But in the back of your mind you’d probably be asking yourself, “I wonder if he has a girlfriend or wife?”
This problem I’m outlining here seems to be the trap of many musicians. I dare say most artists and musicians are trapped by it. “I’m an artist” seems to be used to justify an awful lot of non survival behavior.
And I am as guilty of this as the next starving artist. And it’s really bullshit.
There is no question that I am happy when I play drums. Theres no question that I’m great at it. There is no question that playing drums in front of people, whether on the street or in a theater in front of thousands of people is MY “comfort zone”
The question is does it pay the bills? Sad and true.
The truth is I could have never really looked this problem square in the eye without falling in love.
Love is a lot of things, but one thing it should be is “that thing that makes you want to help another person survive because they’re connected to you”. And you can inspire the one you love by your art and talent and dedication to your integrity. But don’t let those things be so rigid that you don’t pull your weight too. Never let the pursuit of living by your art jeopardize your love and the ones you love.
And never abandon your art. And don’t settle and make it a “hobby” Do it to win.
Following this path is not for the faint of heart.
It may be the path to finding your heart.
I know it is for me.