Draining

 

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I’m a software developer by day, songwriter and wannabe rockstar by night – well, some nights, at least. Those where I have the energy. And therein lies the rub. Our jobs can drain the very energy we need for the leisure time pursuits that feed our soul (or power our escape dreams – whether or be business or art … )

For instance, take music. There’s creative aspects, social aspects and performance aspects. (And a pile of other stuff, but let’s keep it simple or we’ll be here all month).

Now with me, in my double life, the secret secret, known to most of us geeks, but not perhaps apparent to outsiders, is that the job I do is primarily creative. Oh, there’s social and co-operative parts to the job, and also performance, especially in client interaction, but primarily, most of the day, we sit in our chairs making stuff up out of our heads and making it happen on the screen  (or just on some server or hardware somewhere, to support other software that has, in the end, effects on the real world – from powerplants to phones, cars, washing machines, tractors – whatever). Which takes the same energy as composing and arranging music, writing lyrics – it’s all coming out of us, from nothing to something. The intangible made real, whether encoded in JavaScript or musical notation, played back on a browser or a piano. Problem solving, pattern matching, holding complex structures in medium term memory. And, of course, these days, it also means sit (or standing) in front of a computer…

My boyfriend is also a musican – and a salesman by profession. His job takes performance energy, but not really creative energy, so he finds it’s stage work that is tiring after a lot of work. Being creative is fine.

This past week or so, I’ve been finding it difficult to do anything much outside of work, be it songwriting, admin or even cooking. It goes in phases. I’ll have to just wait it out.

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Fantasy Heroes

I think my job on stage, with my various rock bands, has always to be a fantasy. To be powerful, commanding, charming, sexy, scary. To be what the men (and some women) want and the women (and men) want to be. To represent all they wish for, to make them feel, for a little while, that they have that, that they *are* that (or could be). I don’t think I use that power to its fullest extent. Because I don’t understand it.

I never had heroes myself, you see. I never felt that. I never got that from all the bands I have been to see, all the music I have heard. To me, how could I? Unless it is me, personally, up there doing just that, I feel … nothing much. I can admire and respect the skill, the hard work that has gone in, I can appreciate the result as art itself – but there is no transference. They are not me. Their achievements are not mine. I don’t own them.

I am not a *fan* – of sports teams, business heroes, great scientists, artists. I am not a patriot. I never felt company loyalty. When people say “us” and “we” for their football team or country, when they clearly see that team’s achievements and failure as *theirs*, despite that all they do is watch and read and talk about it – I don’t understand. They are not out on the pitch doing it, they are not managing the team, or running the company that pay the wages… So how can they have that feeling? Just. Don’t. Get. It.

Except in two areas. Sailing – as skipper or crew, we all become one with the boat, and we *cannot* do it alone. We are one. There is genuinely an “us”. We survive only together. We succeed only together. Or people get hurt (or worse), and in a very immediate fashion. Right before our eyes. For reasons either definitely NOT in our power (the weather) and reasons absolutely within our power (our preparedness and effort). It’s REAL.

I can guess climbing, exploring, subsistence farming and tribal level warfare would be the same. (Maybe startups come close, with the economy as the weather? Not sure on that one).

And the second area is with the right partner in life, where together we are more than each alone could ever be, wielding all our respective powers as one, pulling exactly together in the same direction. Stronger, better, more…