A friendly reminder about life offline

The relationship professionals have with music is a weird, often tumultuous thing. We spend a lot of time wondering whether or not our jobs will still exist in five or ten years, but if anything else in our lives goes wrong it’s our life in music that often gives a sense of peace. It can be both the cause and solution to our problems, sometimes even both.

When the rest of life feels difficult it is easy to bury yourself in work, and in music there is always something to be done. Musicians and business folk alike have a running task list in their mind or mobile notes app with every little thing they have found an excuse to put off for another day. These lists grow and grow, always promising an escape from everything else if we really feel like buckling down to focus on our carers for an hour or two (or until our heads clear).

You can work and work until your entire task list is complete, but when it is done the rest of the world will still be waiting for you. Music cannot save you. Music can aide you, inspire you, heal you, empower you, and even force you to confront feelings you have been trying to avoid, but it is not a replacement for the world we you share with everyone else. The people in your life, the bills you have accrued, and the responsibilities you have shirked for too long are all out there awaiting your attention.

Maybe the things waiting outside music are not even problems at all. Maybe these things scare you because they are unfamiliar. It is not all that different than the time before you learned to appreciate genres other than the one that made you fall in love with music. Country music always seems silly to teens who love punk, but when their punk idols eventually release an acoustic project inspired by a famous Western singer their parent of grandparent enjoyed a whole new world becomes immediately accessible. The same goes for the things you are putting off. They may seem dumb or weird now, but when experienced they often become something else entirely.

But still, even if we want to give these things we shot we tell ourselves work always comes first. We end up clinging to a job that also causes us anxiety and lose sight of what is important solely because we don’t know what changes in the future may bring. This probably won’t help you sleep at night, but the truth of the matter is that change will come whether or not you want it . Change is inevitable with everything, but you can decide whether to embrace it or fight and cause yourself – or others – pain as a result.

Disconnect. Get done what you need to get done, then get outside or at the very least offline and address your immediate surroundings. If you don’t handle your business life will do it for you, and you will not like the results. Stop making work an excuse for a lack of forward momentum and do the things you have been putting off so you might make the changes needed to  in order to better position yourself for the future. If it scares you, run towards it with your fist in the sky and a loud battle cry. You can and will succeed. Stop putting life off and start living it instead.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.