‘Tis the season for dualities. It’s always a bittersweet time of year for me; working less means spending time picking up the pieces and handling responsibilities I dropped prior to touring. It’s always difficult trying to balance a rooted life at home and a carefree life on the road: if you ask any of us what the hardest part of our job is, most people will probably respond with an answer pertaining to relationships or family. I know with myself, the hardest part of touring is coming home. It’s easy to lose yourself on the road and fall into the day-by-day mindset that gets you through a tough time, but, it’s not a mindset that I personally can hold onto forever. And when I return home there is always a period of adjustment that is not only difficult for me, but also difficult for my loved ones.
The balance between pure self-direction through travel and commensalism created through domesticity seems like a realistic goal, right? It’s simple, sure, it’s dichotomous, but, in the end it requires the same give and take that all relationships require, doesn’t it? Yet, in the end, it feels like an extra gust of wind on an already tenuous tightrope walk. I’ve been critically analyzing the many models that relationships take on in our society: ‘giving up’ a career to settle down, continuing on a path that ends in ruin, two people circling around the world and each other, magic occurring when their little venn diagrams intersect… the possibilities are endless. I wish I could say that the older I get the more my priorities shift….but it’s not that simple. As I grow older, I grow more in love with my life, my accomplishments, my goals and my experiences. I feel like a Secret Agent Man by living two dual roles in some moments. My life in Toronto is very real and very domestic: my life on the road is very adventurous and potentially dangerous at times. I’ve worked so hard to keep these two lives separate and I feel an ominous force looming above, as if the mere idea of living two lives is an unachievable feat.
The holidays, this year, are an even more painful reminder of that duality: choosing between taking work over the holidays meant not being around for my loved ones (who, admittedly, have become quite used to me not being around for the most part…) and choosing to opt out of work–this year in particular–means less comfort and security as an individual. Performing is a wonderful career, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change anything about my life for anything in the world, even right now during difficult personal times. But, make no mistake: there are sacrifices. And if you are willing to make those sacrifices just remember that those around you may not be as willing. And sometimes what you want is not what you want. And sometimes direction changes as easily, effortlessly and reasonless as the wind changes. In the end it all boils down to being happy. I’ve made my life’s mission to be about happiness and seeking it out (for it will not be seeking you out!), and when my life ceased to be happy, I change it. I’ve become quite comfortable with the discomfort of change. May I even suggest that I find comfort in the disorder and discomfort of it? To welcome change and grasp it’s horns in the darkest hour is probably the most important skill people can develop (in my 0pinion). Eventually the dark self has to meet the being of light. Eventually secrets have to be told. Eventually change overcomes us. But it’s in how you deal with these changes is what determines your character.
May all of your dualities face each other and have a sit down over tea. And may whatever change that comes out of this meeting be a positive force for the betterment of your lives.