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Old 09-29-10, 09:04 AM   #1
SonataInFSharp
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What do you Call this Back and Forth Behavior?

What do you Call this Behavior, so I can Work on It?

Quick background: Graduated college and had an amazing career in music going: doing everything I ever wanted to do with music, with room for more. Met my wife. Moved out of state and I “took a break” from music. Moved back home with wife. Been working my full-time, non-music job ever since (5 years now).

Present moment: This is where I get confused. I miss my musical career. I don’t miss my musical career. I fight to have time at the piano at home to practice, compose, prepare for an imaginary musical lifestyle of teaching and performing. But, I have no desire to seek performance opportunities or students.

In other words, I really want to teach and perform again as a career, but I don’t want to, either. One day I will see a friend perform and I will almost cry because I miss it. The next day I will see a friend perform and I will think “thank God that isn’t me.” Same with my teacher friends. They talk about their classroom and I am envious. They talk about their classroom and I am so glad it’s not me.

Right now, music is a hobby at best, but I yearn for it to be more. Or do I? Remember, this was my well-paying, full-time job for several years before moving with my wife. And since it was a career, I can’t get myself to “play for fun.” The music I learn takes hours of consistent practice every day; not a few minutes here and there when I have time for it. And why put all that time into it if my only audience is myself? (My wife is too busy to listen and my toddler hates it when I play as it takes focus from him.)

What is this type of back and forth behavior/attitude called?

(I can provide much more detail if desired, you had better believe it. My original post on this was over 2000 words, but I have shortened it to the above, instead.)
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Old 09-29-10, 09:11 AM   #2
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Sounds like you are dealing with a bit of an image issue here. You are trying to find yourself and allowing your wife and child to inflluence your view of self.

Can you make a living and support your family playing music as you were doing before? If so, then do so, if that is what you truly desire. Why did you stop in the first place again? You have to love yourself and be responsible for yourself. Loving your wife selflessly does not mean putting aside your dreams and desires. If you are living to try and please someone else, ultimately you will both be disappointed.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 09-29-10, 09:21 AM   #3
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Start making videos of your musical performances and put it on Youtube
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Old 09-29-10, 09:22 AM   #4
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There's a folk singer named Christine Lavin. One of her songs is titled, "Adjust your dreams"

I forget which album, very warm and hearty songs.

Example:
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Old 09-29-10, 11:16 AM   #5
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I am not good at articulating myself these days, so bear with me here:

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Sounds like you are dealing with a bit of an image issue here.
This is pretty good, of course.

I always knew who I was from very young. Met my wife and still knew who I was for the most part. Had a kid and I have been totally lost ever since. I am one of those dads who knew I would be a dad from the time I was 12 and I couldn't wait. Now that I am a dad at 32, I am constantly wondering what the heck I was thinking.

Nowadays, I don't think I know who I am at all. I let my wife decide everythig because she is a control freak and it's just easier that way. But it's getting better. But because of this, I feel lost, out of control, and overwhelmed all the time. All because I try to be as un-selfish as possible--I never was selfish, ever, so why am I worried?

Here is a sub-question: How do I do the things I want to do without feeling selfish? For example, my wife wants us to be doing things together every night if she isn't working. What if I simply don't want to watch yet another movie tonight? What if I want to play piano instead? Is that an example of being selfish? What if I don't want to watch a movie, ever?

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Can you make a living and support your family playing music as you were doing before? If so, then do so, if that is what you truly desire. Why did you stop in the first place again?
I stopped because I was burnt-out. I was teaching 54 students privately + working a full-time job 45 hours a week + performing here and there. Meeting my wife, moving out of state, and supporting her PhD work was a good excuse to take a break. That is why I quit.

I can make a living of it now, but it would be a difficult transition phase. I would have to keep my day job while I start teaching. This would mean I would be gone all day and evenings until I had enough students to quit my day job. I wouldn't see my son (and second child on the way) for about 18-months or longer, except for weekends, because I would be working + teaching each evening.

I am not sure if this is the time to make that transition. My wife works evenings, at home, while I take care of the kid. We would need additional daycare which would cancel any money I make from teaching for a while. Plus, she is very high-matinenance in terms of our time together. She makes me feel guilty about the 41 hours a week I am already gone at work as it is...

Quote:
You have to love yourself and be responsible for yourself. Loving your wife selflessly does not mean putting aside your dreams and desires.
I am so paranoid about becoming a typical, selfish husband that all the wives in my life complain about that I would rather feel safe by being passive and going with the flow at my wife's every demand all the time.

I don't know where sticking up for your own desires becomes selfish. My dad, for example, was one of the most selfish people I have ever known. Maybe I am overcompensating for that.

The dream I have is to teach at the college level. First I would have to get my Master's at the very least. I would have to move away for that, as performance/pedagogy is a very hands-on program. I think it's too late to do this.

We have a house. I would have to keep my day job. My wife is tenured so she isn't going anywhere. There is a second kid on the way. I could go on and on with excuses as to why it doesn't work. My psuedo-colleagues in my field who did it tell me that they simply disappeared from their families for two years to get it done. So, my dream of teaching in college some day is out because getting my Master's in my field is out.

I have decided to put my family first, and that is where life is taking me, so I have to hope that is the best descision.

My wife tries to support me in theory, but when it comes down to it and I try to make a move, she doesn't support me and she agrees that she does this. But, at the same time, she is embarrassed by my job and she wants to help me do more. It seems like I can't win no matter which way I look.

It doesn't help that I see my friends who have their fresh PhD's, can't find jobs anyway, and those who do are making a whopping $28,000 without health care...I make almost double what they do just by doing a job I don't tell people that I do....

I always used to joke that with my music I "am better than average but still not good enough." I can add "as lost as ever" to that, too.
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Old 09-29-10, 11:49 AM   #6
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Sonata: I will respond but I really want to read and process what you have written and I will most likely send you a PM instead of discussing this in an open forum. I think it is amazing and awesome that you are willing to be so open on a public forum.
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Old 09-29-10, 12:49 PM   #7
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Heh, my own friends are so private that if I bring up anything other than the weather or "How are you?" in a generic way, they run away from me, so this is all I've got....
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Old 09-29-10, 12:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by SonataInFSharp View Post
Nowadays, I don't think I know who I am at all. I let my wife decide everythig because she is a control freak and it's just easier that way. But it's getting better. But because of this, I feel lost, out of control, and overwhelmed all the time. All because I try to be as un-selfish as possible--I never was selfish, ever, so why am I worried?

Here is a sub-question: How do I do the things I want to do without feeling selfish? For example, my wife wants us to be doing things together every night if she isn't working. What if I simply don't want to watch yet another movie tonight? What if I want to play piano instead? Is that an example of being selfish? What if I don't want to watch a movie, ever?
....

My wife tries to support me in theory, but when it comes down to it and I try to make a move, she doesn't support me and she agrees that she does this. But, at the same time, she is embarrassed by my job and she wants to help me do more. It seems like I can't win no matter which way I look.
You need to grow some 'nads. Anyone know the history behind the term: "That guy has guts!"?

You are letting your wife walk all over you. A marriage is supposed to be 50/50 and just because someone's a control-freak doesn't make it right that they get 80/20 say in what you can do with your life. I find quantifying all the factors makes it much easier to see and pictures are really worth 1000 words.

One good example was my sister-in-law's situation after having a new kid. It's her 2nd marriage and 2nd kid, but 1st kid with the new husband. The guy is a clueless gaming geek, lazy almost to the point of being a dead-beat. He gets home at 5:14, sits down and play video-games for the rest of the night, she even brings him dinner at his computer. After hearing months of whining from her about how she has to do everything:

1. always the one that wakes up when baby needs feeding at 4am
2. then she wakes up early 6am, to make breakfast for 4 people
3. drives the 13-year-old to school
4. drives the baby to daycare
5. then she goes to work
6. takes her lunch hour to go grocery shopping
7. leaves work at 2:30pm to pick up 13-year-old at school and take her home
8. goes back to work
9. leaves work at 4:30m to pick up baby from daycare before they close at 5pm
10. makes dinner for entire family
11. cleans up after dinner and does dishes, etc.

I had her make a spreadsheet for each task that should be shared (a column for each of the above tasks, and a row for each day). Then I had her mark in red every time she did one of those tasks. And she would mark in blue anytime he did any of those. Well, after a month of this tracking, printing out the spreadsheet to see how the responsibilities were shared between the two was quite obvious.

Quote:
Here is a sub-question: How do I do the things I want to do without feeling selfish? For example, my wife wants us to be doing things together every night if she isn't working. What if I simply don't want to watch yet another movie tonight? What if I want to play piano instead? Is that an example of being selfish? What if I don't want to watch a movie, ever?
Without an objective and quantified representation of the issue, it's really hard to determine how much of the marriage is evenly shared. My wife and I have our own alone times and together times. We do whatever we want doing our alone times and for the shared times, we pick things we agree on or go back & forth on what we want individually, "you picked going to San Diego for the weekend last time, this time I say we go skydiving.".

It's difficult in your case since you work days and she works nights, which limits the amount of together time you have together. Objectively quantifying the time is the only way to make it fair. For example:

1. your alone time: play piano --> nights she's working
2. her alone time: watch movies --> days you're working
3. together time: choose something you both enjoy doing together. Your desires should weigh-in just as much as hers.

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 09-29-10 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 09-29-10, 01:35 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=SonataInFSharp;11541752]
What is this type of back and forth behavior/attitude called?

QUOTE]

immaturity.. when you grow up you will figure it out!
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Old 09-29-10, 01:39 PM   #10
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Thought I would add... I wanted to be an artist...went to school for that, but at some point I had to wake up and realize that was not my path... I was too lazy and not talented enough so I move into other directions. Being immature, it took me awhile to find the right trail and now its smooth sailing. I still engage in art, I actually teach (as a volunteer), but I have a job that supports me and pays the bills. You first priority is not your passion but your family. Remember that...
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Old 09-29-10, 01:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by SonataInFSharp View Post
Nowadays, I don't think I know who I am at all. I let my wife decide everythig because she is a control freak and it's just easier that way. But it's getting better. But because of this, I feel lost, out of control, and overwhelmed all the time. All because I try to be as un-selfish as possible--I never was selfish, ever, so why am I worried?
...
Here is a sub-question: How do I do the things I want to do without feeling selfish? For example, my wife wants us to be doing things together every night if she isn't working. What if I simply don't want to watch yet another movie tonight? What if I want to play piano instead? Is that an example of being selfish? What if I don't want to watch a movie, ever?
...

I am not sure if this is the time to make that transition. My wife works evenings, at home, while I take care of the kid. We would need additional daycare which would cancel any money I make from teaching for a while. Plus, she is very high-matinenance in terms of our time together. She makes me feel guilty about the 41 hours a week I am already gone at work as it is...


I am so paranoid about becoming a typical, selfish husband that all the wives in my life complain about that I would rather feel safe by being passive and going with the flow at my wife's every demand all the time.
You are not being selfish if you don't want to do everything your wife wants to do. You need to have time for yourself, there's nothing wrong with that. She should not be upset if you want to play the piano instead of watching a movie. It's not like you want to go out to a bar with the boys.

Your wife may be a control freak but she shouldn't be able to control every aspect of your life, or make you feel guilty about it. If you are constantly giving in to her because it's "easier", that's not a good thing. I would sit down and have a talk with her.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:27 PM   #12
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You first priority is not your passion but your family. Remember that...
Heh, my passion pays three times the income my job has. My passion requires less time away from family than my current job, and is far, far, far more flexible.

When I was teaching, I was regarded as one of the highest in the studio. I had a waiting list of students while other teachers sat around and just practiced.

Hmmm.... it's just getting back to there that is the issue.

Sorry your passion failed you. Congrats that you still get to teach on a volunteer basis.
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Old 09-29-10, 02:30 PM   #13
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If you are constantly giving in to her because it's "easier", that's not a good thing. I would sit down and have a talk with her.
We talk about it often; we talked about it earlier today, actually. I won't go into the details of the converstaion, but I assure you we talk.

Everything I blab about here on the forums I have discussed with my wife at length before it gets to the forum. I just don't have any objective friends to discuss these things with. One friend will just agree with me instead of actually listen and give objective feedback. Other friends, as I mentioned a few posts above, run away if I want to get more personal than the weather.
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Old 09-29-10, 03:10 PM   #14
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Heh, my passion pays three times the income my job has. My passion requires less time away from family than my current job, and is far, far, far more flexible.

When I was teaching, I was regarded as one of the highest in the studio. I had a waiting list of students while other teachers sat around and just practiced.

Hmmm.... it's just getting back to there that is the issue.

Sorry your passion failed you. Congrats that you still get to teach on a volunteer basis.
Then why is this an issue for you? If money/income is important stay with music. It also sounds like it accomodates your family... I go back to the fact that maturity is lacking. Grow up, make a decision and stick with it.
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Old 09-29-10, 03:47 PM   #15
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What do you Call this Behavior, so I can Work on It?

Quick background: Graduated college and had an amazing career in music going: doing everything I ever wanted to do with music, with room for more. Met my wife. Moved out of state and I “took a break” from music. Moved back home with wife. Been working my full-time, non-music job ever since (5 years now).

Present moment: This is where I get confused. I miss my musical career. I don’t miss my musical career. I fight to have time at the piano at home to practice, compose, prepare for an imaginary musical lifestyle of teaching and performing. But, I have no desire to seek performance opportunities or students.

In other words, I really want to teach and perform again as a career, but I don’t want to, either. One day I will see a friend perform and I will almost cry because I miss it. The next day I will see a friend perform and I will think “thank God that isn’t me.” Same with my teacher friends. They talk about their classroom and I am envious. They talk about their classroom and I am so glad it’s not me.

Right now, music is a hobby at best, but I yearn for it to be more. Or do I? Remember, this was my well-paying, full-time job for several years before moving with my wife. And since it was a career, I can’t get myself to “play for fun.” The music I learn takes hours of consistent practice every day; not a few minutes here and there when I have time for it. And why put all that time into it if my only audience is myself? (My wife is too busy to listen and my toddler hates it when I play as it takes focus from him.)

What is this type of back and forth behavior/attitude called?

(I can provide much more detail if desired, you had better believe it. My original post on this was over 2000 words, but I have shortened it to the above, instead.)
I had a professional art career that fizzld to nothing, due to bad life decisions....
An (almost) music career that did the same......

FOLLOW YOUR BLISS !!!!!!!!!!
C'Mon doooood ....... You have a gift and its your responsibility to keep it going !!!!!!!!

Whatever it takes, dont get old and be sorry you never followed through....
Boring jobs and listening to dopey bosses will always be there if by
some crazy, .099% of a chance you dont (re)make it professionally.
Best wishes in all your future endeavors
'make it' professionally again, but you have to at least try.
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Old 09-29-10, 04:47 PM   #16
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I've played guitar for 35 years, did some paid gigs, and hung around with enough music majors to know that this is a way to express myself, and I'm a decent musician, and would be a lot better if I'd done the music school route. But I'm making a lot more money with a MA in Urban Planning than I would likely be making as a working musician, I have benefits, retirement... and I can go play the kind of music I *want* to play rather than worry about whether I have to do a gig that I *hate* to pay the bills.

In retrospect, if the school I had started at (I transferred to Iowa after my freshman year at Northern Iowa in 1980) had offered the jazz studies minor it does now, I would have minored in jazz studies and majored in English, but that route wasn't available. I'd still probably would've gotten my Master's in something - or JD - and be doing a straight daytime job and playing when I felt like it.

I still harbor the very schizoid tortured artist feelings but I'm not lying awake worrying about paying the rent and eating.

Unless you are really farking good at your instrument, composing and/or arranging, a music career is probably a way bad idea for most musicians.
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Old 09-30-10, 09:25 AM   #17
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Unless you are really farking good at your instrument, composing and/or arranging, a music career is probably a way bad idea for most musicians.
Oh, I agree. I have always run with a crowd of successful muscians who are now heads of music departments to published composers, so I come from a perspective of muscians as a realistic professional approach. The funny thing is how fellow piano teachers make signifcantly more income than my professor friends, but that is the nature of the biz, I guess. And no two jobs are the same...

I know you weren't implying this, but I do want to clarify that I am not talking about running away to Hollywood to wait tables and hope to make it big on stage. I have done music before, took a break, and now am trying to work through deciding if the grass really is greener or not if I go back to my original career path.

Funny how just writing everything out in my OP helped clarify a lot of things before anyone even responded. After a few days of this...well, this thread is so old news now that it can be locked.
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Old 09-30-10, 09:36 AM   #18
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Funny how just writing everything out in my OP helped clarify a lot of things before anyone even responded. After a few days of this...well, this thread is so old news now that it can be locked.
Thread closed.
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