An Eclipsing Day off at Work, Day 146
“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning. Once it does, it becomes the kind of thing that makes you want to grab your wife around the waist and dance a jig.” – Malcolm Gladwell, The Outliers
When my colleagues and I have almost nonstop work with a happy day off in between, many of us choose to work at home and even go to visit our places of employment to see our friends perform. I have the privilege of working hard in some wonderful and enormously satisfying situations, so when I have some time, I naturally feel drawn to attend an opera at the Metropolitan Opera, for example, before I’ve even had a chance to file away my programs from my own performances last week.
Of course, before I can play, I need to do some work too. So in my first few hours off last night, between watching Firefly and cleaning the apartment, I updated some photos, edited some sound files, ordered new business cards, brainstormed a bit for ideas for my April recital in NJ, responded to comments and emails, and updated my website again. How else can I ensure that I continue to get good performance opportunities unless I keep working in my free time? As a performer, I know no other way. Besides, I don’t exactly “rise before dawn three hundred sixty days a year,” and I consider my joyful work well worth the effort.
Tonight, I go to the Metropolitan Opera, one of my favorite places to work, to see Simon Rattle‘s first production there in Pelleas et Melisande with a friend from the extra chorus. Well-received and reportedly well-acted and sung, friends have “warned” that attending this opera still requires quite a commitment, beginning at 8pm and lasting for four hours with some very slow tempi. Hopefully Debussy and my opera companions will keep the evening entertaining. Regardless, my love for music and art far eclipses my desire to sit at home and watch television.
I haven’t yet decided whether I will nap before returning to the cold streets of New York at 3am to watch tonight’s total lunar eclipse. That too, for me, lies somewhere just far enough out of my comfort zone to keep me excited, intrigued, and ready to dance a jig.