Pause for Thought

Work is quiet at the moment.

This would have filled 27-year-old me with dread. She would find the not knowing quite when the next paycheque will come in daunting.

36-year-old me is different. She’s relieved. It’s been a busy few years since I had an appreciable gap in the schedule like this one, and I’m due a break. I’ve started sleeping longer hours. Mornings are sedate affairs; afternoon naps de rigeur. Work gets done in its own sweet time without the tyranny of the clock. There’s a little bit of ‘cushion’ money in the bank, and royalty cheques appear now and again to tide me over. I even caught a cold! A sure sign of an imminent holiday if ever there was one in our time-poor, workaholic, ambition-driven business*.

It’s interesting to me how work patterns re-align themselves when I’m not uber-scheduled and hyper-focussed on delivery. It’s a relief that I still want to write music; there have been times before when burn-out put composition at the very end of the list of things I would voluntarily spend my time doing. So tracks get written, I submit to production music libraries, they get accepted or not. I’m still hustling for potential projects here and there. Work still gets done but it’s no longer something that requires a concerted effort to keep going.

21-year-old me would be pretty disgusted that I’d need to put in any effort, never mind ‘concerted’, to get the music written. ‘I mean, for crying out loud, it’s your dream job!’ I hear her proclaim, with a certain youthful exhuberance. However, 15 years in the ‘biz’ (in one way or another), does turn an obsessive hobby into a 9-5 by necessity; it’s naïve to think that there’s no willpower involved in sitting down week after to week to invent, from scratch, new ways of putting the same 12 notes in different orders at different times to make an audience feel something, feel anything

It’s still a dream job. I still pinch myself to check I’m awake, and that I really do get to do this for a living. That real, live people actually still pay me to organise sound in time, package it up and present it to them before a certain date. It’s odd to read that particular description of my occupation, but there it is. I still pinch myself.

For now, in this quiet time, as autumn takes hold and the nights draw in, I’m relinquishing that tight grip on my daily diary and, instead, I go with the flow. I ride my bike, I bake, I take photos, I do yoga, I see friends I’ve not seen in years, I go to vegan pop-up restaurants, watch shows, write little ditties, upgrade and update operating systems and software, file accounts, take stock, think about the future and put my ducks in order**. It feels busy when I write it all down like that as a list, but it’s not. I’m revelling in the not-busy. In the spaces in between to just be and observe and non-judge, to just sit; to feel creative juices begin to coalesce and condense and fill up that mental well ready for the next time it’s needed; that’s where I am.

78-year-old me will look back on this time and smile***.

*which the masochistic in me still loves 🙂
**knowing full well they won’t stay in order for long. Ducks have minds of their own, after all.
*** I hope. Rather that than say, ‘get off your ass and find some effing work you lazy piece of s***.’ I’ll probably be pretty cantankerous at that age, let’s be honest.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash