Today, I purposely stayed in a pub after finishing my drink because a certain song came on the radio.
That song was Vienna by Billy Joel; a song I hadn’t heard before until relatively recently, when I went to see him live with my wife and my mother-in-law at Wembley Stadium last year. It’s something that really resonates with me, as someone who can be prone to overdo it, or be too focused on achieving certain goals as being proof of my validity.
I actually think I’ve got better at this lately and my work / life balance has improved. When I was a teenager, my band was my sole focus and the most important thing in my life, and succeeding - whatever that meant - was essential; if we didn’t get signed and achieve popularity, I'd have failed. As it was, we were on route to this when my life went another way and acting and comedy became my main motivation, but I always had the sense that I wasn’t doing enough; that every second not spent on work was a second wasted.
While I still have high expectations and am hugely self-critical, I’ve recently started to take my foot off the pedal and not be so serious about it. It really isn’t everything, and I’d hate to miss the important things in life by being so caught up in things that don’t matter. I still care about being creative and the opportunities it can give me, but I don’t want to be around the wrong sort of crowd: people who are so motivated by ego - something that’s particularly common in comedy - that they see most others around them as having little worth. Everyone’s shouting these days and I’m tired of it; given the choice, I’d much rather be with my wife.
I’m not motivated by money, though it would be nice to have some; I’m motivated by experiences; gigging with Paul Daniels and the like and spending time with them was more valuable to me than a pay packet; likewise, I’d sooner spend the day with my wife and my cat than be holed up in a room on my own writing and chasing. This is what Vienna says to me; whatever you try to do, you’ll get there in the end; you don’t always need to push it; thank you Billy for the heads-up.