Two passions, two jobs

I’m intrigued by people who live double lives.  I’m not talking about secret agents or cartoon characters like Clark Kent, aka Superman.  I’m referring to people who hold challenging day jobs they love, while also following an artistic passion on weekends and evenings.   It’s hard for me to imagine putting in a full day at a regular job and then leaving all that behind to climb on stage, play in an orchestra, or write a play, but many talented people do it and do it well.  (In truth,  I can’t picture myself climbing on stage and entertaining even if I had nothing else to do, ever.)

I recently came across three people who excel in leading two distinct lives. The Seattle Times featured one The headline tells the story:  “Sex crime cop by day, improv artist by night.”   According to the article, Detective Kyle Kizzier hunts down criminals and persuades them to confess to their crimes during the day, and then spontaneously transform himself into a variety of odd characters on stage at night.

My two other examples of people who do a great job combining disparate passions are Spencer Welch, a university educator and pianist, and Marilyn Pedersen, executive legislative analyst and violinist.

All three performers found the arts at an early age.  Marilyn started playing the violin at nine, Spencer began taking piano lessons at eight, and the detective studied drama in college.

Marilyn always finds a way to connect with other musicians, whether she is playing classical music in a trio, jamming with other legislative staffers in the state capitol, or playing with her latest band, “Marilyn and the G Strings,” also known as the “wine drinkers with a ukulele problem.”  She describes the group as “friends with shared interests that go beyond the enjoyment of fine wine.”  When the legislature is in session, her life is harried.  Telephone and email exchanges are often discordant. Creating music at the end of the day helps relieve the stresses of work.  She says that legislative aides with bosses from both political parties find harmony as they bow, pick, strum and sing together.  When the legislative session is over, one of the G Strings’ regular gigs is in a Kirkland wine bar, an obvious place to indulge her third passion.

Spencer plays solo in a Seattle restaurant, and at weddings, corporate events, and house parties.  His fingers glide across the keyboard as he moves from classical to pop to show tunes in less time than it takes to blink.  He also writes and performs his own compositions.

Although Marilyn doesn’t know Spencer or Kyle, she is probably speaking for all of them when she says, “I’m not defined by the work I do.  There’s a lot more to the experience of being on this planet.  I’m a human being, not a human doing.”  Words of wisdom for those of us whose day jobs give us our primary identity.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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2 Responses to Two passions, two jobs

  1. Jill Turnell says:

    I really like “I am a human being, not a human doing.” We could all do well to remember that.

  2. In my next life I will pursue my passion for dance. I’ve requested the proper body type and a degree of talent.

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