That One Time I Surrendered My Music Career To (Hopefully) Love Music Again

A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.
– Bob Dylan

Our relationship with music is just that... a relationship. All musical relationships are unique to the parties involved. Some get married and make albums. Some get divorced and split the royalties. Some just want to have fun and listen to records.

The first 28 years of my life were mostly dedicated towards building a music career, specifically "making a living performing." My music career, to the public, consisted of:

  • performing with a wide range of artists
  • recording on albums
  • traveling and playing well-known venues
  • enjoying the freedoms of freelancing

But, behind that beautiful curtain, I was NOT:

  • playing or listening to music for enjoyment
  • attending friends weddings/family gatherings
  • balancing my time
  • valued adequately
  • saving money
  • preparing for my future
  • feeling fulfilled

My undying focus on showing the world I could "make it" in the music industry clouded my judgement which internally justified my actions and emotions. Hindsight revealed my relationship with music was similar to a long-term romantic relationship that everyone (besides those involved) recognizes needs to end, yet drags on for years until something extreme happens. The difference for me was the public perception of my relationship with music was naturally supported by my peers.

Something extreme finally happened and I realized I needed to make a change. So I spent the next 4 years of my life finding a way to transition away from my music career to (possibly) have a healthy relationship with music again.

My new goal was to play music because I wanted to, not because I had to.

Imagine working your entire life towards something only to realize it's not what you wanted (or thought it would be). I didn't know what it would feel like to make this transition, but I knew it had to be done for my sanity, relationships and health.

Enter Thriving Musician...

Thankfully, I uncovered another passion (financial literacy) to pursue alongside this transition. I loved math growing up which took a backseat to music early on. Not only did I need to improve my financial situation, but I genuinely loved learning the methods along the way. I thought to myself "every musician on the planet needs to understand these things I'm learning!" Whether they want to is still under investigation. So I started sharing what I learned and how it changed my life. This was a way for me to keep one foot in the music community while secretly stepping out with the other foot.

I'm thankful I created Thriving Musician to help others who were/are in my position 4 years ago and it certainly helped with my transition, but there were obstacles to face including:

  • Difficulty communicating with colleagues at gigs.
  • Finding a new community to join.
  • Detaching from toxic relationships and keeping the healthy ones.
  • Wondering if I would ever play music for enjoyment again.
  • Letting go of my childhood "dreams."
  • Reinventing my perceived identity.

As difficult and drastically transformative the last 4 years have been, there are immense positives from this experience. I work in an environment that values my skills (and me as a person). I have the freedom to play and listen to music my way with the potential to love music again. I am financially sound and prepared for life's inevitable curve balls. I travel and spend quality time with friends and family. I own my home with the necessities for my ideal life. Lastly and most fulfilling is my ability and capacity to help others.

This journey is not for everyone. But, I encourage everyone to truly evaluate their relationship with __________________ and decide if it aligns with their values and goals.

What is your relationship with music?
What was your relationship with music?
How has it changed over the years?
How will it unfold throughout your life?

 

Keep Thriving,
Spenser

 

P.S. If/when you hear music from me in the future, you will know it's from the heart!

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