At this point in time, the financial needs of my family of six – with two in college – are such that I must work. Since I have not been able to find full-time employment, I currently hold down three part-time jobs. Those jobs keep me going from 7:50 a.m. till about 3 a.m. five days a week and thanks to those jobs I work with everything from Kindergarten or First grade students to college age students every weekday. That kind of jump is just a tad bit mentally exhausting!
To be honest, most of my employment hours find me doing what I have to do to earn a paycheck. The one job that allows me to spend time in my one great area of passion – the performing arts – is the one hour or so of my day that brings me real joy.
When this work situation became my reality, it was with the understanding that I still got to set aside time to pursue my passion. With the help of some AMAZING friends and board members, a dream I’ve carried for at least 2 decades will become reality in January of 2014 when Stage Door Productions holds it’s premiere event. The hope is that this venture will eventually provide some income. But for now, it is more avocation than vocation. Nevertheless, there are things a Managing Director must do to help the first season become a reality!
I work with the colorguard at the local high school and love spending time helping those girls develop their skills (plus this former band geek loves being a part of marching season again!). Before the school year is out, I will be directing a production for a local community theater (performances in December), will serve as the rehearsal accompanist/pit pianist for the Spring musical at the local community college (for the 3rd year) and will serve as the theatrical director for the Spring musical at the local public high school (for the 5th year). All of those “theater gigs” come with paychecks. Modest stipends in some cases, but it’s better than nothing!
When people hear about my schedule, people comment on how crazy busy it sounds. Well-meaning individuals often tell me that I should free up my nights. As one person put it “Let someone else handle all the theater ‘stuff'”. They are convinced that doing so would reduce my stress.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
My jobs (with the one exception I mentioned earlier) provide a paycheck and not much else. My theatrical/performing arts pursuits provide food for my soul. There is no experience in the world that compares to standing onstage and delivering a well-timed line or heartfelt song to an attentive audience. Unless that experience includes getting to accompany others who are doing so, vocal coaching cast members, or directing a show. It is in performance that I am most in touch with parts of me that existed before I was anyone’s wife or mother. To cut those events out of my life would NOT lower my stress level. Quite the contrary.
If you see me these days and ask “How are you?” I’m liable to answer “Tired.” You might see “tired” as a problem and you might be tempted to encourage me to give up some of my “extracurricular” pursuits. If I did that and you asked “How are you?” my answer would change to “Weary.” Frankly, I would rather be “tired” with a slight smile on my face and a soul well-fed than “weary” from a passion abandoned.