my 2018 was largely defined by my relationship with "my work" (i.e. music-making), which has both challenged and rewarded me in greater measures than ever previously.
I say "my work" because it's somewhat new and somewhat strange to me to be thinking about music as such. I don't know what I really thought it all "was" before it gradually became "work". practicing, rehearsing, composing, recording, engraving, accompanying, teaching, website editing, making money – no matter how intense, I had always felt they were all satellite activities to each other, and so for a long time I felt my time and energy were infinite and expendable to pour into one or another.
it was startling to me just how quickly this came to feel less and less possible this year: whereas once I felt I was never "really" working, I began this year to feel I was really always working, or thinking about working. I still don't know exactly how to tell people what I do in my "free time" because I feel like whatever I have of it (it's always either more or less than I think) I am always trying to fill it with (explicitly music-related) "productivity".
one the one hand, the year was indeed massively productive: I had the pleasure being involved in a number of deeply meaningful projects (some "big" and personally "threshold-raising"), I wrote more music than I ever have since I graduated with my degree in doing just that, and have even been able to cover most of my living expenses (imagine that!). many of the friendships made and deepened through all these endeavors I'll treasure for a lifetime.
on the other, it has left me feeling rather tired (the "good kind of tired", but even that can be in excess), and rather unrelatable outside of music – a troubling irony, as I feel strongly that music should rejuvenate, and bring people together as people. it's all made me wonder "Who I Am" aside from what I "Do", and, in a medium as humane as music, whether even my music-making can be relatable.
I'm flattered when my friends tell me they are happy to see me pursuing "my passion". it's not always a noble or glamorous way of living, but it's all too easy for me to forget that it's still certainly one of great privilege, and one I'm still devoted to following. however I hope to be able to cultivate, in the new year and beyond, clearer notions of work (and music as and as not) and self that will make both of them sustainable, and even synergistic with each other.