I'm not sure if any of you read Jason Heath's blog Art's Addict found on the network of musician's blogs on Adaptistration.com, however I highly recommend it. Jason has done a 4 part series (so far) of experiences as a freelance musician (double bass) and the trials and tribulations of the sometimes lonely life of a musician with no "home" as it were, and instead relies on a job here, a job there, teaching here and there, and trying balance that life with a family life and social life. The posts are very cleverly written, and are sometimes fall on the floor funny. Be sure to go back and read the posts in order - they are worth the read.
I occasionally look at my own schedule and wonder if it's all "worth it", and why it is that even though my wife and I have a comfortable sense of financially security, why I just can't seem to say "no" to just about any gig that I'm offered, as long as it pays reasonably well (and that's not even always the case). Take today for instance. I'm about 30 minutes away from getting in my car to drive, in what can always be a potentially dangerous highway in the best of conditions, in the middle of winter for an hour and a half one way, for a job that will take about an hour, and then turn around and drive for another hour and a half back to make it in time for Church Choir.
On top of this, I have a concert this weekend with the Professional Choir which has had me in rehearsal on every evening that I would normally have "off" (don't get me wrong here - this is going to be a great concert - with absolutely fantastic music - so I'm looking forward to it a great deal). Generally speaking, I see my wife for about an hour in the morning (when I'm conscious) and maybe for one to two hours in the evening when we are not rehearsing in the same choir together. We make up for this with numerous emails, and a few "check up" phone calls through the day, and have learned to savour the wonderful dinner moments together, and the odd weekend afternoon that I'm not rehearsing somewhere.
I suppose my biggest fear of saying "no" to a gig, is that I'll never be asked again. And maybe, down the road, it will be that gig that allows us to go out for dinner, rent a movie, or buy the "Above $10 bottle of Melbac" when we next have a night off. Or maybe it's just a habit for me to take the phone call, look in my calendar and see "you have nothing on that Sunday afternoon" and just say "yes" in spite of the idea that at one point, that afternoon was free.
I better get my suit and tie on and start warming up the car. At least it's not snowing, so the drive should be no trouble.