“If you could do anything else… do it, drop out of the arts.” That was the advice I was given when I was just beginning to study theatre. I continue the warning: You don’t have your holidays to yourself, or weekends, or evenings, or anytime any of your friends are free. That is true for the arts. And 99% of the time I don’t mind it.
This year, however, its bugging me. My husband also works in the arts (thankfully, our areas are not too closely together, so we are not competing for work). Between the two of us, we have 2 birthdays and an anniversary in the next few months. I don’t think we have spent all three of them together in a single calendar year in the six years of marriage (or the even longer amount of time we were dating). It rarely bothers me. In fact, I think this is the first year I’m in the dumps about it. Of the three, we will only get to spend one together.
We both knew we were in for this when we started. (I was late to my wedding rehearsal because I was at strike for a show, and left the day after my wedding, without my spouse to head out of town for work.) I tell my students as someone who hopes to work in the arts you get to pick one holiday that you don’t work — and what ever holiday that is, it is the one you are stuck with. Long ago I choose New Years Eve — consequently I have worked on my birthday, my anniversary, every Thanksgiving weekend for years, even Christmas. I have missed wedding, baptisms, birthday parties, class reunions, and more (I was late for my bachelor party). I am the stick-in-the-mud who when being invited out for drinks says, “No, I have an 8 A.M. call in the morning for tech.”
That is the reality of working in the arts… you spend your life for the art. Most of the time, I’m so thrilled about the life I have chosen. I have my art, I have a great husband, I have it all. I don’t get to spend the “special days” with my husband this summer, but for the first time in years I will get Thanksgiving weekend this year (ALL OF IT!!) And since we knew going into all of this that the “special days” everyone else celebrates, we probably won’t we try to make every day that we can be together a special day.