What is a labor of love?
I would define it as a project that you invest time and energy in whether you are compensated for it or not. In other words, you do it because you love it.
I’ve had a few of those in my life. The most serious has been music.
I have been writing and performing music for over 25 years. My main focus has been original songs although I do play other people’s material.So far, it hasn’t been lucrative but I still do it.
Because I believe music matters. I believe people’s stories matter, mine included. The human experience has value and meaning.
Over the last couple months I ’ve been keenly aware of a general malaise around me and within me as it relates to music.This feeling could also be described as an indifference, a sadness. Obviously, the last 2 years have not been easy on anyone.I could easily chalk this up to a global pandemic, restrictions, social unrest, inflation, you name it. That being said, I don’t think that accounts for all of what I’m sensing.
Isn’t that what music is for? To get us through the hard times? To quote a popular song from years ago
“ Without a song, the day would never end. Without a song, the road would never bend. When things go wrong, a man ain’t got a friend, without a song.”
Why does music seem so remote and detached from what’s going on in our world?
I think technology has played a part in this.When I was growing up, music was everything. Many of us spent countless hours listening to artists and bands we loved. It helped us to feel less alone.In today’s world, people have other things to immerse themselves in. There are video games, social media groups, chat rooms, and various streaming platforms.Music is still around but it doesn’t appear to have the same influence in people’s lives as it once did.It doesn’t have the finger on the pulse of a generation, expressing what people are thinking and feeling.
I can remember songs that were inescapable. You would hear them at stop lights coming out from open car windows. They would be pumping up dance floors and blaring out at sporting events and social gatherings. Truth be told, many of these songs were god-awful and overplayed.Regardless, they reflected a certain collective consciousness, if you will. They can bring you back to a specific moment in time.
Where are we at this moment in time? Where do we go from here? I don’t know.There’s no way to put the genie back in the lamp. Technology is here to stay. No turning back time or living in the past.
I don’t have any answers yet.I can only go back to what I am feeling and see if it has something to tell me. It’s a sadness for something lost as well as a growing anger towards indifference.People around me just don’t seem to care.It’s exhausting to find the words to explain this to another person.It’s disheartening to search their eyes only to be met with a empty stare. They don’t get it.
I’ll never stop writing and playing even though there are times when it tears my heart out to do it. Come to think of it, it tears my heart out when I DON’T do it as well.At least it’s the kind of pain that shows you who you are and what’s important in life. Maybe that’s what makes it a ” Labor of Love ”.