This is our new pup, Mochi. The expression on his little face is exactly how I am feeling these days. At the best of times, Nova Scotia in January is a hard place to be because of the weather, which is usually FREEZING, and this winter has been no exception. Despite all the global warming warnings that things are warming up, they certainly aren't here at the moment!
Add this to the pandemic going into it's third year, and words like bewilderment, depression, and isolation come to mind. The other day, my son Eli came home from school and said:
"Mum, I'm really feeling the weight of this pandemic now, and I'm really sad. When is this going to end?"
This is the $64,000 question (could be any random number, but this is the number used in my house growing up).
As a performing musician whose career has suddenly been thrown on ice again, I too would like to know the answer to this question. But no-one knows the answer. There is no answer. All we can do is try to adapt and make the best of things.
This is pretty challenging to do in Halifax at the moment. Advice all over the map is to "get outside, and relate to nature". As a Victoria BC girl at heart, doing this in -15 or more degree weather has its limits. I spend my days trying to keep my kids sane, feed them and keep the house organized to some degree (HA)- I am no Mary Poppins let's just say. Being a homemaker mum (and believe me, this really is a job) has never been high on my list of priorities. But now when I wake in the morning I ask "what should we have for dinner tonight??" If I could afford it, I would just hire my own personal chef! I'm sure many mums out there can relate.
My skillset is so niche and specialized I am constantly wondering if I should now just re-train and find another more practical job to pay the bills. After all, paying bills as a musician before the pandemic was challenging enough, now it is potentially looking impossible. Symphony Nova Scotia has laid me off due to pandemic concerns, so I am collecting EI right now. I'm lucky to have this, but can I seriously continue down this path as a 52 year old symphonic musician with a family??? People have suggested that I try and make my living as an independent artist, doing nyckelharpa stuff. Ummmm....I think I shall have to write a separate blog post for that. What you see on social media does not make a career let's just say. Social media is the biggest of all deceptions. No wonder we are in such a deep hole of confusion and mess right now.
I get that many independent artists have figured out the social media thing, and are "getting a following" from fans around the world. But the amount of time you have to spend at a computer, or on a phone actually doing this is MIND BENDING. I'm at home tending to kids, a house and a puppy. Finding time to do this, (and having the know how) is not gonna happen till I'm 60!! "Who wants to support a crazy 60 year old nyckelharpa nut of a woman, living in a remote place in Canada?" I ask myself. Perhaps this could be possible if I could travel and make contacts elsewhere, but there is none of that going on right now, that's for damn sure. This pandemic has completely crushed the Performing Arts, no ifs ands or buts.
So I'm taking advice here: Do I wait it out? Or do I start brainstorming for a new career in something else?
I quite fancy becoming a maker of whisky, as this is my drink of choice these days. I'm loving my whisky cabinet. It's one of the few things keeping me sane.