Mid-Life Crisis And Enjoying It! What's Wrong With That?
So I stopped playing music for many years. I had been a decent lead guitarist in my late teens and was building a good following in my home town and played in some great metal bands. I turn 20 and then everyone around (non musicians) like family tell me to "Get a haircut, get a real career, etc...". So I did so. Sold all my music equipment, went to college, came out not being able to make decent money at my profession. Moved to a big city and struggled for many years financially to build a "proper life". Things got turned around for me when I was working extremely hard (60+ hours/week) only to have my ex cheat on me and leave me while I was trying to be a good guy and save up for a down payment on a home for us.
All the while, I had missed playing music. Anytime I went to a bar and saw a band play, or went to a major concert I'd be thinking "that should be me up there". So I decided to start over again at the age of 29 to buy a couple of decent guitars and some gear and start playing again. I started playing guitar religiously and got my chops back. By the age of 31 I was playing in a bar band, although not that great, but started gigging again. Things feel apart but within another year, I joined an alternative rock band and got a few more gigs in before that project stopped.
Early this year though, I decided to switch to bass and now I'm happier than ever. I joined an original metal band and also a Metallica tribute band. I traded some guitar gear for bass gear to get me started and still in the process of picking up better equipment. So now I'm married to a wonderful woman who doesn't quite get what being a musician is about. She thinks I'm wasting my money on buying better bass equipment and that I'm going through a "mid-life crisis" and she's bugging me to "get a haircut". That may be so, but I sure am enjoying playing larger gigs now then when I was in my teens. We have no children, only a dog and a cat. I'm 36 now so why don't I feel it's wrong dipping into my line-of-credit to get me some better bass gear? My wife is against it, but better paying gigs are starting to happen and I'm extremely happy!
What's the question?
The problem is that the term "mid life crisis" instantly pigeonholes anything you decide to do in your forties that isn't the regular run of the mill 9 to 5 struggle as a transient thrill which you'll get over.
This also implies that its a vainglorious attempt to regain youth.
Playing music is enjoyable but time consuming, and yes can be costly, but properly managed is one of the few things you can do till you die without getting appreciably worse, its a perfect hobby.
You've missed out on this enjoyable part of your life once, don't allow other people perceptions of it to rob you of it again.
So long as you don't start getting all crazy thinking you're "going to make it" and all that........
Some women get it, and some don't. Were you in a band when you met your current wife? I didn't play for 16 years when my kids were young, but as soon as the first one hit the door, so did I, to find another gig. My wife knows I can't live without playing, and supports me. Music is part of who you are, I hope you can explain it to her.
Not to be unduly negative , of course it is possible to make money from playing music, it just that one needs to keep enthusiasm under control.
I suggest you have a very long and detailed talk with your wife. Each of you should lay out what life should be like over the next five years.
Did she know you were a musician before you guys got married?
The haircut request is what is concerning to me! I mean, you must have had long hair before you got married, yes?
If you really doesn't "get" you being a musician, IMO, you're in for another emotional ride because instead of being happy for you to get great gigs, she'll be home, ranting to her family/friends that you're out of the house ignoring her and probably banging one of your groupies.
Sound like she may be the jealous type and trying to cut you off at the pass so you'll stop doing what you love to assuage her anxieties.
IME, high anxiety many times leads to irrational decisions.
IMO, you can't live a happy and content life based on limitations placed on you by people with anxieties.
If the long talk doesn't work out well, some counseling may be in order to align both of your priorites (or not).
Well, do you make more money playing music than you spend on gear? If not, it's a hobby and nothing more. Sure, you enjoy it. But it's not a living. Don't go into debt to get $10K worth of gear for a gig that pays less than $10K a year. If, like you say, "better paying gigs are on the way", then spend THAT money on gear when it comes in.
Do you have a day job? Between the day job and the gigs are you able to spend a lot of quality time with the wife? Is she being neglected? (By the way, YOU don't get to answer that one. Only SHE can decide if she is being neglected.)
I'm not trying to talk you out of playing music. But it seems as though you may have had this epiphany during a marriage. In other words, it seems as though YOU are changing the deal between you and the wife. When she signed up to be married to you, did she know you were going to be away a lot and spend more on gear than you make playing music? Those are two HUGE changes to spring on someone.
Again, if your bands aren't making a ton of money, and you don't have cash on hand to buy the gear, wait on gear. Going into debt for gear for a band that doesn't pay well (if at all) is a bad idea...... at ANY age. If you have 6 months of emergency funds plus a bunch of saving and retirement, plus some extra, then spend all you want on gear. But going into debt (the new American way of life) for gear is not very bright.
Also, had you guys talked about kids? Does she want them? Did you mention having them when you guys got married? If you even gave her a glimmer of hope that kids were in the future, she is nesting. So she wants to stay out of debt and get you to cut your hair so you can focus on your job and possibly be a good dad. I'm not saying that long-haird musicians can't be good dads. I'm just saying that is how MOST women think.
Either way hope it works out for you.
Edit to add: And what Stumbo said. But just try to think back and remember what you guys talked about when you were thinking about getting married. And then ask yourself, did YOU change the deal? Or did she just get a look at what you told her life would be like and change HER mind?
lol,.. i had a gf once who kept wanting me to quit playing. a few years later i injured myself and had to stop gigging for an extended period. after a brief period of contentment she began to call me boring.:eek: she then preceded to kick me to the curb for another musician,..
lmao,... it's hilarious,... now!;)
i say have fun regardless of the perceptions of others. i've never liked the "Midlife Crisis" tag. it is more like people desperately avoiding boredom or something. your band is cool, Rock On!:bassist:
I'm 57, and I have been in a mid-life crisis for about the past 30 years or so (playing bass in rock bands, boating, flying Cessna 172s, riding my Harley, etc). I am beginning to wonder if it's time for me to give up the death sludge screamo thrash post-core anti-pre-metal James Taylor tribute band I'm currently in. Hmmm....yeah.... ;);)
If you are only 36, don't expect your MLC to end anytime soon!
Do what makes you happy. That's all that matters.
I've owned a ton of high dollar gear and you don't need to spend a lot to have great gear, for under $1500 you can have all the great sounding, playing and dependable personal gear you will need to play almost any stage (Bass, amp and cab(s)
I also found out the best way to become well off is to NOT use credit for anything but affordable housing, income property or (potentially?) profitable businesses. Used for anything else, you're just living above your means. I did that when I was young so I know from experience.
Lastly, the more you practice the better your equipment becomes.
Edit: I better add that you are married so financial decisions should be made jointly so she does have a point.
Double Edit: I've been married forever so I have a little experience there too.
Yes... credit card debt = luz
save your pennies, unless something is absolutely a necessity (say you broke a string, or had to re-cone a speaker) do not use credit cards to finance large amounts( I consider a large amount to be $500 or what ever you can pay off in a month) . The more I play my gear, the more I want something nicer :bassist:
Ask her if she wants to be your wife or your mommy.
(Yes I'm a bachelor. :cool:)
I'm having trouble finding the "wonderful" part here. Go ahead and buy the gear you want. Life's too short and they print more money everyday.
I'm married to a wonderful woman who knows that if I don't gig then I will die and encourages me to play with as many people as I can.
Sounds like she's just worried about you getting "out there" and trading her for another model. Talk it through and find out what the real issue is. Meanwhile, don't give up your dream. Life is too short to pass through without making music - be happy! And congratulations to graduating to the "low end."
I prefer to think of these things as mid-life opportunities!
As far as I can tell, we only get one lap in life - make it count.
That said, I have to echo some of the above statements. Your vows to your wife and commitment to your marriage count too. Hopefully there is room for both.
All the best, man.
Sounds like the new has worn off your marriage and whatever commitment(s)you made when you decided to take the plunge.
If you've made up your mind to jump back into music, you should at the first available opportunity sit down with your wife and tell her exactly that. If she says no way, then you have a simple choice to make, her or music. If she's opposed and you are determined, the best thing is to cut the cord now rather than later. You might as well deal with a divorce in the near term than a series of failed patch up attempts followed by a divorce later after you've had time to do some really stupid things in the name of continuing to beat an already dead horse.
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