This is Your Life. Do What You Love
It’s time for the Flash Friday Series! Each Friday, we share something personal: A personal goal or some way we find to achieve balance in our harried, busy professional lives.
If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact me here.
Today’s post is written by Rusty Speidel.
I’ve been a semi-professional musician since I was about 10 years old. I say semi-pro because I was never really willing to make the leap into a full-blown career. I could not face the financial uncertainty, the travel, the late nights, the thousands of women, the adoration…
Just kidding about the last two.
But seriously, music has always been a part of my life; what defines me. I have played long enough that I’ve been able to see some pretty good success from time to time.
I’ve recorded five albums, done thousands of pretty cool shows, including three with Sugarland last year in front of 20,000 people a night.
I’ve played on hundreds of recordings for others, and have even had a chance to produce some records. It’s a huge rush, and frankly it’s the one thing I do besides mountain biking where I am totally in the moment.
Why not do it all the time?
It just comes down to needing a little more security and stability, since I wanted to raise a family. The musical life is not a family life. While many folks find a way to make their living doing the one thing they love, often at all costs, I have chosen instead to make it a serious hobby that occasionally brings in some income.
The idea that I would give it up entirely seems utterly ridiculous. It’s just part of my identity, much like sports are for my son or painting for my cousin. But it’s also about drive, and I think that’s what the theme here is.
It’s easy to be passionate about something when it’s easy, but how does that passion hold up when you have to sacrifice? I have had many friends who were more talented than I give it all up to go into corporate life 100 percent. There are times when I envy their resolve.
Is it better to keep the dream alive at 40 percent of capacity, or is it better to just give up and let go?
Since the theme of this blog is making time for the things you love, I will tell you it’s not a choice, really. I HAVE to play. It makes time for ME. It calms me. It reminds me of and allows me to share my gifts, to keep them active in an increasingly hectic world. It enables me to help nurture my daughter’s very promising musical talents through mentoring, production assistance, and experience. It keeps me connected to all the friends and fans whose lives have been positively affected by the music I have created.
Lastly, it ties me to the creative process, to something more emotional and visceral where I can let go and see what happens.
This is your life. Do what you love.
So no matter what, I set aside about five or six hours a week minimum to perform, write, or record music, whether it’s practicing alone, rehearsing with one of my three bands, recording a new demo with my daughter, or playing a gig out in public. Some weeks it’s as much as 15 hours! And no matter what, I never seem to be too tired to get there. I’d rather be tired at work the next day than give up a chance to play music.
I know it’s the right balance too, because it’s just enough to get the family to miss me, but not enough to be disruptive!
If there’s something that calls to you when you least expect it, follow that voice. Make that time. It’s kept me feeling young, relevant, and vital even when work lets me down from time to time.
Rusty Speidel is Director of Brand Strategy and Client Services for Jaggers Communications, a social media and digital marketing agency in Charlottesville, VA. When he’s not working with his clients or playing guitar, he’s also an avid road and mountain biker and loves nothing more than to make Lisa suffer. (P.S. from Lisa, that was SUCH a fun ride. :) )