Making a Life is Difficult!

Photo by Horia Varlan. Used by Creative Commons license.

I’ve said this to many friends, many times. In the arts, making a life, making a living, is hard work! A while ago, I linked to a chain of posts from 2amt about different job arrangements (full, part and between jobs).

Currently, I’m the part-time set up. I have pieced together skills and locations to create the equivalent of a “regular job”. I teach Pilates. I choreograph and teach for Hedgerow Theatre. I do dance and audition coaching (More on this tomorrow!). These hours change weekly. Clients cancel. I have snow days. I’m between shows. All of those things affect my bank account. And, usually, my confidence that I am doing the right thing with my life. Those are scary things.

Then, I work over 20 hours per week for a foundation, as the Grants Officer. Now, the nice thing here, is that the foundation was established by a former professional dancer, and all of the grant funds come from a dance studio! (Check out LibertyMe Dance Center!) So, I am surrounded by dance and creative people in my most stable job. It is a position that allows me to create and work on my own art. My boss understands the importance of choreographing and teaching to me, and allows me space and time to do those things.

And, part of my job gets to be ensuring that other artists have funding- to make a living wage, to create excellent, relevant art, to share that art with the world. I think this is very exciting. I enjoy it almost as much as I enjoy creating and participating in the arts myself!

I think I might have the perfect set up. But, it wasn’t always this way. For years, I worked a full-time office job, in insurance. I was eventually able to scale back to part-time, and finally to leave. It was a long, gradual process. And, I don’t think I ever had any idea this was where it would end up. But, you know what, I like it here.