Do you define yourself by who you are, or by what you do?  I have struggled with this question for years.  It was particularly acute in 2016, when I left my teaching career to pursue my passion for music.  Everywhere I went as a musician, I was being defined as a teacher who has this cute side gig as a musician.  In my online travels, too, I find many people telling me how nice it must be to pursue a hobby like music now that I am retired and have free time.  I will admit that I am irked by such comments.  

I didn't leave teaching to pursue a hobby.  I worked 30 years at a job that enabled me to pursue my passion as a musician, a passion that has been with me as long as I can remember.  I am not a teacher who plays music, rather, I am a musician who had a day job as a teacher.  Since my middle teens, I have worked at writing songs and lyrics, developing a personal style of playing and performing, and connecting with other musicians when opportunity presents itself.

I write a blog about what it's like being a musician in his 60's who is trying to maintain relevance in a "mixed up, muddled up, shook up world", as Mr. Ray Davies sings in LOLA.  I have a podcast about the songwriting process, and the stories which inspire my own writing.

I perform everywhere, anytime I am able.  

That doesn't sound like a hobby to me.

Trying to define oneself presents a dilemma.  By defining ourselves by what we do, we tend to overshadow WHO WE ARE.  I guess, what is most important in my life isn't really what I do, but rather, am I living well, caring for others, contributing to the forward momentum of positivity rather than the burdensome drag effect of the internet trolls?  If I can plant a seed every day, nurture a friendship, or just appreciate what I have, perhaps that is more important than all the careers or hobbies, money or acknowledgement in the universe.


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