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How do I support his dreams, while also keeping him in reality?

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  • How do I support his dreams, while also keeping him in reality?

    My partner is in his early twenties....eleven years younger than me. I think I've done really well at being sure to remember this age difference and let him go through his own growth without getting frustrated or irritated by it. In other words, I don't want him to feel pressured by me to be older than he truly is. I'm not perfect, but it's been a conscious effort and so far hasn't caused any big difficulties.

    He aspires to have a career in the music industry. Where he lives, he is one of MANY who aspire to have that career. He has a band he's worked with now for about six years. They play a lot locally. They're great, but something keeps them from progressing beyond just playing in local venues. I have my own opinions on that, which I keep to myself unless asked by him. Trying to be a successful musician where he lives is similar to playing the lottery. If you win, you'll win big, but your chances of winning are extremely low.

    He works during the day at a low paying job. A job that would never allow him to truly be a contributing partner in a partnership/marriage or whatever. I want to see him putting some focus on acquiring a trade skill that will allow him a financially stable life regardless of whether his music career works out or not. I have told him this. I don't want to see him 30 years old, working a low paying job with no benefits and still trying to "make it".

    How do I help to direct him along the right path without seemingly trying to kill his dreams?
    "Be what you're looking for."


  • I'm in my 40s and I feel like I have gone through the idealistic stage to the practical stage and now back to the idealistic stage. There is so much more to life than stability (of course, this is coming from somebody who has financial stability). But also, envy people who get to do what they love, even though they live pay check to pay check. I now wish I had pursued a career that gave me joy than money. The few people who make it in the music world commit to it 100%. They don't have another career, however small it may be. They only take jobs that allow them the flexibility for their art which usually is random restaurant jobs. They can't even commit to being a career server and making a steady living at a good restaurant. They often quit their day jobs and move around. Any job they take, will always be second to their music. If not, they will never succeed in music. I know contractors who have a great band but he will never be successful in music because he is not devoted 100% to his music. He has a family to raise. I have an actor friend who got jobs as a temp. He was really good and even got offers from a well paid wall street firm to be an admin assist which meant he only had to work 9-5 and not interfere with his acting. But he turned it down. Although he is not a famous actor now, he actually makes a living with his art. Probably not what I would call financial stability but still.

    What I am trying to say is that any type of financially stable job, even if it is being a waiter, means not being 100% in the music world. He probably understands the real world and is willing to take the risk for his dreams. It is probably not something practical people like ourselves understand or can appreciate, but artists do. If they were more practical, they wouldn't be the artists they are. Did you see Ricki and The Flash (movie). That may be how he ends up, but that is his choice and would he really want anything different. The question is do you want to make a life with someone like that?
    Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose - Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster (sung by Janis Joplin)

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Beautiful Disaster
      They play a lot locally. They're great, but something keeps them from progressing beyond just playing in local venues. I have my own opinions on that, which I keep to myself unless asked by him.
      Do you know why they are not progressing? Do they have a manager that could get them bigger jobs? Does he/do they have the talent to make more money, maybe not big, but a decent living?

      Comment


      • DreamP346 - I'm friends with a band here who is now nominated for their second Grammy, and 2 of the four guys in the band are married and have small children. I think there is a happy medium for people, for musicians, for anyone who is passionate about their chosen profession. What you're describing is totally fine for someone who is 22.......but what happens if he's 25......then 30....then 35 and he's still not earning a living, still living with parents, and sacrificing stability? I feel that anyone should have a backup plan, especially when they're pursuing a career in an industry that is like playing the lottery. He wants to be a successful musician, but he also desperately seeks a financial stability that his parents have never had (because his dad was an aspiring musician and never moved beyond minimum wage jobs....). If he didn't WANT that stability, I'd not be wanting it for him......I'd be reevaluating myself and asking myself do I truly want to be with someone who doesn't want that stability.

        amy40 - They do not have a manager. They never have had. They have the talent, but where they live, so do MANY others. I have my thoughts on why they aren't succeeding. The biggest factor is the saturated market. Other factors are: His band mate does not work a full time job (or a part time job), is supported by his family, and puts forth most of his effort into writing and doing session work. The band does not come first for him. My bf has existed in his band mates shadow, he has allowed that to happen and now it seems he's dependent upon him for success. I see his band mate focusing on himself, on his own independent career, and my bf sitting there waiting in the wings.

        "Be what you're looking for."

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Beautiful Disaster
          He works during the day at a low paying job. A job that would never allow him to truly be a contributing partner in a partnership/marriage or whatever. I want to see him putting some focus on acquiring a trade skill that will allow him a financially stable life regardless of whether his music career works out or not. I have told him this.
          Who paid for your trip? Did he take you or did you split the costs. Are you wondering if you would end up supporting him if you stayed together?
          With your added description, doesn't sound like he has right partner to make it, in addition to not having a manager.

          What did he say when you suggested a trade skill? Is he open to going to school?

          Comment


          • I have many friends who are musicians. Of those, quite a few have been musicians for 30 or 40 years. A lot of the problem is finding a music style that is accessible to a large audience that doesn't make them feel that they have sold out. Making it in the music industry also requires a lot of grinding by playing small venues across the country and around the world to build up a following. I know one band (I know all of the members and often get a nod when they see me in the audience) that has enough income that allows them to not have day jobs. The rest have day jobs that have enough flexibility for them to continue to pursue music. Unfortunately most such jobs do not pay very well. I do have one friend who started his own record label who is now a buyer for his employer and spends a lot of time in China because of that. Music is still a passion, but it is tempered by the requirements of a well paying job.
            I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
            ...
            Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

            From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

            Comment


            • He may want the financial stability, and be willing to work for it, but only on his terms. He may want the stability, but not willing to sacrifice the thing that he loves for it.

              At some point, he will have to make a choice.

              He may not be ready to make that choice for many years, as he's still so young.

              We change so much in our twenties and early thirties. We develop our direction and sense of who we want to be. He still has a long way to go, it seems.
              What he values in a few years may be a regular pay check and schedule. Or he may learn that this lifestyle is the right path for himself.

              No real way to predict what he will choose.

              The hard part is your choice here. Obviously you know that you can't change him or even influence much in any meaningful way. So what will you choose? How long will you wait to see what choice he makes? Will you stick around if he chooses his current lifestyle?

              I don't know any musicians. My good friend is a former musician, and he's told me why he left it.
              I know a couple women who are glass artisans, with advanced art degrees that cannot sustain themselves on their salary. They also work as bartenders or whatever...

              it's a lifestyle. I know that you know that by now

              Comment


              • amy40 We were incredibly lucky. The people who invited us there paid for everything. Between us, we spent less than $200 total on the entire trip. I don't necessarily think I'd end up supporting him....he doesn't seem like the type who would feel good about that, but I do fear it will cause us future problems. He seemed receptive to the ideal of a trade skill. He doesn't have the money to go to school but I think a trade school could be worked out if he wanted to put his mind to it.

                jns - You're exactly right about the selling out part. He and his bandmate create some really great songs together. But I've noticed lately that their songs are appealing to an older crowd. I try to tell him that realistically, those aren't the people out buying albums and selling out concerts. I think if you want to be BIG you need to appeal to the masses. I agree with the notion that small bands like this have to get out there and play. My issue is that I feel they aren't self-promoting. His bandmate doesn't really promote their band at all. My bf posts their shows on FB and a band app, but that's about it. Where are the youtube videos? Where is the marketing? Where is the promotion? I'm just not seeing it, and as a result, it's making me doubtful of the likelihood of their success. I see his bandmate self promoting himself independently as a writer and guitarist. I told my BF now is the time to start promoting himself too, independently or otherwise he will continue to be left in the shadows.

                The way I see it is, he's working 7-4 M-Thur right now and still has time for practice, shows, etc. He could be working a much better paying job and doing the same thing. I don't want him to feel like he has to choose music or me. But I do want him to see that if he wants me, he has to be willing to earn a decent living and contribute to a life together.

                atskitty2 - I think my biggest fear is being patient because of his age, and then him never growing past it. He's a wonderful guy and I know he WANTS a solid future. But he's still so na?ve about things sometimes (rightfully so at his age) that I don't think he truly realizes how unlikely it is for him to strike it rich as a musician. When we talk, he does listen to me, and he does try to follow my advice. He's actually really great about that. But, I can't help but fear that 5 years from now I will be 38 years old, almost 39 and he will still be trying to "figure it all out" working a job that doesn't even allow him to make ends meet. He looks for jobs daily, but I don't think he's quite in the mindset yet of looking for something REAL as opposed to just jumping from low pay job to low pay job.
                "Be what you're looking for."

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Beautiful Disaster
                  I want to see him putting some focus on acquiring a trade skill that will allow him a financially stable life regardless of whether his music career works out or not. I have told him this.
                  How does he respond?
                  "Those sowing seed with tears
                  Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126

                  Comment


                  • yep, it's a gamble for you. So, the choice is whether you want to gamble your own potential future balance and happiness.

                    Would you be happy with that lifestyle in a permanent mate? aside from the financial aspect? Would you be ok with the travel and home life balance of a man choosing that as his primary schedule/career? if kids come into the picture, would this lifestyle be conducive to the family life that you may want?
                    are you comfortable with being the bread winner, and carrying the bulk of financial responsibility with homes and cars and any other debt, as he may never earn enough?

                    I'm 44 & I can honestly say that it would not be ok for me now. I want and need a man as independent as I am, moreso is appealing even. I met a 50 yr old gorgeous man last week, who had an IT degree but was waiting tables part time and had another low pay job. I probably would have been ok with it, but he was 7 yrs out of divorce, living with a roommate and had little to no relationship with his 2 kids....and was against alcohol. I got the sense there was much more to his story, and that he couldn't be the kind of partner I'm looking for, aside from the low pay/low ambition side of his life. I think he was an alcoholic, and transitioning into a new phase of his life.

                    So I tell you that to try to emphasize, in my morning haze, that it's about much more than earning potential. For your guy, would he be HAPPY doing anything other than making music full time. Will he be ready to even make that life choice any time soon? Will he pursue a skill only to be unfulfilled, with music in second place, and return to his music full time?

                    I think if I were you, I'd let him discover for himself and not attempt to influence his choices, or guide him down any other path than what he chooses for himself. Although he says he wants to and seems interested, it may be done to please you, without him saying so, or even realizing it. It may build resentment over time, as he matures and looks back on his choices.

                    I would take him where he is, at this time and believe that's where he'll stay, or leave him behind. Let him bring it up if he wants info on how to apply to trade school or college. Better yet, he'll take the independent route and do it himself.

                    It's tricky to be having open discussion and dialogue about these things and not be steering things. The discussions are good and healthy, in a relationship, but it's a fine line. I would try to leave it alone, and decide what your choice is, while not trying to influence his choices, even in the power of suggestions.

                    Easier said than done, I know. That's why I don't even get to a second date with someone who has lifestyle incompatible with mine. I don't even wanna go there at this point in life, no matter how great they are.
                    much easier to cut it before a bond is formed.

                    How long have you been dating now? I know it's still fairly early.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Beautiful Disaster
                      amy40 He doesn't have the money to go to school My issue is that I feel they He looks for jobs daily, but I don't think he's quite in the mindset yet of looking for something REAL as opposed to just jumping from low pay job to low pay job.
                      Has he ever seriously thought of college?

                      Comment


                      • Stillness - Willing. I think he's at a place in his life of confusion, not sure what path to take, not sure what is the right way and the wrong way or how to pursue his dreams and also pursue a future if his dreams don't work out. A pretty normal place to be for someone his age, I acknowledge.

                        We ALL have dreams. But what if we all sacrificed our livelihood and futures to hope for them?

                        atskitty2 - I think you're right. I try to stay in the shadows about it unless he's struggling and asking for my advice. He asks for my opinions/advice a lot. I definitely don't have all the answers....I don't know how one "makes it" in the music industry, but I do know that he and his band mate are NOT doing what is needed to even really put themselves on the map. And if I'm supposed to sit back and be patient with you about your future (which is like I said, like playing the lottery when it comes to music), then I'm going to get frustrated when you're not really putting in the work to achieve that future. Even if they put the work in, their chances are slim in an industry so saturated, but at least put in the work.

                        10 months yesterday actually.

                        amy40 - He went one year at a university and then quit. He said he didn't have enough time to work, go to school, and pursue his music. I don't really advocate that he go back to a university. A community/technical college for 2 years to acquire a specific trade would be sufficient. I have recommended things like aviation mechanics, electrician, etc because he is good at things like that.
                        "Be what you're looking for."

                        Comment


                        • Musicians are these crazy strange people that live in their own reality. They often don't know how to function in the real world. I mean they don't know how to do the practical stuff to become successful in their art. I dated somebody like that. I didn't have a problem with him not having money. I was more than willing to support him. But I had this allusion that he was this struggling artist that did nothing but devote himself to his music. Kind of like the Johny Cash and the likes. I thought he would be up all night writing songs or something. I guess I was romanticizing what I saw in the movies. I thought maybe if he finished college, at least he could get a job in the music industry, even if it wasn't as a musician. I was so wrong. Like many other artists I know, they are just dysfunctional. That is what makes them artists. They don't function in the real world. they may say they want to, but they just don't do it. Maybe one day he will change. But there is no way to really know.

                          If your bf was suddenly offered the opportunity to be an apprentice plumber, a job that pays really well, would he take it? You don't need any training or education. I am guessing not. He may say he wants to change his financial situation, but the fact at 25 he hasn't means he really truly isn't motivated to do so.
                          Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose - Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster (sung by Janis Joplin)

                          Comment


                          • Some musicians balance things to have a good life, but it will take limiting their musical pursuits. I have one friend who is a union electrician, I believe he is an inside wireman. He has had a good paying, continuous job for several years and because of that his band doesn't play as much as it used to.
                            I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
                            ...
                            Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

                            From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by jns
                              Some musicians balance things to have a good life, but it will take limiting their musical pursuits. I have one friend who is a union electrician, I believe he is an inside wireman. He has had a good paying, continuous job for several years and because of that his band doesn't play as much as it used to.
                              I guess I just think if he's going to have to work a day job regardless, why not work one that pays? If he can still pursue his music with his current job, then he could still pursue it with a higher paying job (as long as it wasn't one that required constant overtime.

                              His band got nominated for a contest in a local magazine. If they win they get featured in a publication in Texas. My bf has posted it twice to get votes, I've posted it twice, his mother has posted it..... his bandmate hasn't posted it at all. His bandmate says things like "I'm in music, not in advertising/promotion." How can you be a successful musician in a totally saturated market if you're not willing to promote yourself? But that's the thing.......he promotes himself he just doesn't promote the band.
                              "Be what you're looking for."

                              Comment

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