My career is teaching me that I cannot 'just muddle through' when ill. I am happily engaged in a profession that requires all I can give it. I cannot do what I used to do working retail and drag myself around half-conscious for a month with a pocketful of sudafed and kleenex. I have to actually REST and take care of myself.
Also, I am learning what it means to care about my job. I've been playing full-time professionally for more than two years, and I'm getting used to caring so much about my work and finding it so rewarding. I grew up poor; I'm not used to caring about money. "Money, she comes, she goes, but love, she stays." Now, the money I earn gigging is dear to me. The way I use it matters more. Looking at my taxes, my incomings and outgoings for the year, is more personal. Did I use this money well? Can I maintain this occupation? How much did I give away? How much did I need to spend on upkeep of my equipment? These numbers resonate with me in a new and frightening way.
I get worried about upcoming gigs, making contact with venue owners, finishing demos, recording albums, communicating with bandmates, putting my stamp on arrangements, making sure we have promo, composing tunes... there are many aspects and processes to my job and these things carry more weight with me than they did before, and they carry more weight with me than aspects of other jobs. I care more. This is my calling.
Too, I am reaping the rewards. I am focused and sharp. I am learning to step up and ask for what I need. I am learning to say no: to gigs for exposure, to bands I can't maintain, to opportunities that are out to exploit me, to all sorts of things. I am learning to say yes: to jamming when I have the opportunity, to gigs I would have felt unprepared to take a year or two ago, to interviews, to uncomfortable social situations (introducing myself to people in positions of power, selling myself and my career).
I've had a lovely week in New York, being pandered to (helloooo, half-naked Alan Cumming in Cabaret). I will return in time for a rehearsal, then the following day I have a performance, then a day off, then a pub gig, two days to recover and prepare, a freebie gig with friends, a few days with my girlfriend, a ski lodge gig in Michigan, a couple days for appointments and packing, Consonance with Wild Mercy, a coffeehouse gig, and then SAINT PATRICK'S DAY.
...I can do it. I'm pretty sure.