City driving is stressy and bad. Wanna make it worse? Add rush hour. Wanna make it worser? Add a late winter Cleveland day - everything is lead grey, the road is slick, the sky is dribbling a weird substance that is neither liquid nor crystalline, visibility is nil, and everyone around you has utterly forgotten that they were born here and grew up driving in this garbage - and they have all become morons.
I had one of these mornings recently. I made it through but was, shall we say, unhappy. I parked, probably slammed my car door, and trudged up towards the high school where I teach. I’m pretty sure my teeth were clenched. My blood pressure was undoubtedly ‘don’t ask.’
And then I rounded the corner, saw the big front doors of the school, and remembered why I was there. It was like my mind clicked back into place. My stress melted away (Mostly. This isn’t a fairy tale!), and I realized it.
I teach music composition. So my job it to listen to the thoughts of young people, and help them make those thoughts come alive through music. We create written scores, digital beats, collaborative improvisation, lyrics, live performances. I could easily go off on all the cool, logical reasons this is good stuff. But that's not my point. My point is that I dearly love my work. Somehow the tasks, interactions, processes resonate inside me, they are what I'm meant to do. And even though like any job there are issues, problems, frustrations – “rush hours” – I am always righted when I get to walk up to another human being and say “Hi, good to see you. Let's hear what you've got today.”