TAKING THE WORK-LIFE BALANCE UNICORN BY THE HORN: I AM RETIRING FROM LIVE PLAYING.
May 19, 2021 § Leave a comment
That unicorn. I’ve had my sights on her for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried the gentle approach: it hasn’t worked. I tried the drastic approach once, 12 years ago, with mixed results: I removed stress, but also a great part of my identity by removing too much work, which… led to stress. Fast forward to now and this impossible-to-ignore realization: work-related chronic stress has been my own personal mental gangrene for 20 years now. A 20-year-old gangrene does not look nor smell pretty. How have I managed to keep going that way? At great cost. So it’s not a small temporary band aid that I need: amputation is what I need. In much the same way I’d want to keep my leg if I did have real gangrene, I’d love to keep playing live (one of my two professional legs – the other being making records), forever. But the thing is I’m me, and I have this problem with handling stress. No amount of wishful thinking, nor all the things I do to reduce my stress and be somehow “different”, is going to change the fundamental way in which I operate at certain basic levels.
The Barcelona shows at Chiquita Room to celebrate the release of the new album are of course still happening, and I’ll try to make the London show at King’s Place on 7th August a fitting “goodbye for now”. Indeed, in my head this is not a “forever” decision, and although – to state the obvious – there is no knowing what the future will be made of, I’d like to think that it is precisely this retirement right now that will enable me – if I have the good luck of being alive and well and if we haven’t destroyed the planet completely by then – to be back at some point, let’s say, in the 2030s?
This decision has been harder to make and announce than I anticipated, and has made me feel like writing a long series of posts: not a litany in the “touring-is-so-hard” style (I have little sympathy for that). Instead, time cost, self-care, self-love, self-image – stuff that we can all relate to.
Those of you who been to my shows know it anyway, but I do THANK YOU, again, for being part of one of the things I’ve most loved doing in my life.