Life lesson from a Blue Man

We were on vacation — specifically, fishing out on the lake — when the call came.

My husband S had entered a local radio station’s contest for tickets to a Blue Man Group show at Chicago’s Briar Street Theatre. And he won. I almost fell off the boat as he got the details of his “VIP experience.”

blue man group

Our pass. Can’t believe we won this!

If you haven’t seen a Blue Man Group performance, it’s really worth it. And bonus: it’s a fun and interactive show to take your kids to — provided that your children are at least elementary-school age and can handle a little strobe lighting and some serious drumming (or will wear earplugs without complaining).

I can’t say enough good things about it. No spoilers here: suffice it to say, it was wonderful. But the most memorable part came after the show; as part of the prize package, the manager showed us to an upper balcony where we got to meet a Blue Man one-on-one.

We asked him all kinds of questions. Did he get hot in all that greasepaint? (Yep, sure did.) Was it hard to learn all the different parts of the show? (A bit, but all the Blue Men have extensive training.) Had he performed the show in the other venues around the country? (Yeppers, everywhere except Las Vegas.)

Then we asked him how he became a Blue Man. To paraphrase his answer, he said that he had been a drummer all through school, that he had started in elementary school and kept it up right through high school. When he went away to college, he still loved drumming, but he was majoring in theater because he loved it too. Then he and his then-girlfriend (now his wife) saw a Blue Man Group show and he knew right then that’s what he wanted to do.

And it hit me that here was a guy who was doing what everyone always tells you to do: find a way to do what you love and get paid for it.

You hear that sage advice a lot. Everyone from Oprah to self-help gurus will tell you to make a career out of your “passion.” But I guess I’ve always thought that most people don’t really do that. It’s risky to put it all on the line for something that others might consider a hobby at best. It’s far safer to find an 8-to-5 job with responsibilities centering on the ubiquitous qualities of “good oral/written communication and organization” than to figure out how to succeed at something you love.

But he did it. And you could tell from the way he talked about the show that he loved it. Absolutely inspiring. And something that I need to remember when I’m talking to my kids.

Now I just need to figure out how a deep love of all things chocolate can translate into a fulfilling career. Tricky, that one.

Have you made a career out of something you love to do? Or have other factors, like raising your kids or pressing financial issues or even the plain, old fear of failure, impeded you from following your heart? 

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About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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10 Responses to Life lesson from a Blue Man

  1. 🙂 you guys are lucky! not only did you get to see the show, you got to meet a blue man! 🙂 & how fun is that; some people get to do what they love & yeah! me too I would love to know how can I make money by chocolate everyday! maybe it’s something to think about! 🙂

    • He was the nicest guy, that Blue Man! And I’m sure he would have rather “de-blued” himself and gotten outta there, but he was very nice about answering our questions. It was cool.

      Seriously, there has to be a way to stake an entire career on loving chocolate. Maybe I’ll become the Chocolate Whisperer…. Watch out, Food Network! 🙂

  2. rgemom says:

    I think we tend to take the “easy” route of the typical 9-to-5 because it’s terrifying to lay your passion out there on the line, for all the world to see. When you find a way to turn that chocolate thing into a money-maker, let me know. Oh, and totally jealous of the Blue Man experience!

    • I agree with you about putting your dreams out there on the line and how terrifying it can be. And I promise if I can figure out how to make money by eating chocolate, you’ll be the first to know!! 🙂

  3. go Mama O says:

    I have never seen the Blue Man Group, but have heard it’s really a great show. Right now I have visions of Tobias from Arrested Development after he “blue” himself.

    I’ve going the 9-5 route for several years, but am happier with my part-time job / parenting gig. While I still work in the marketing field, I am enjoying more balance in my life right now.

    • Blue Man Group is a hoot and a half. Really, really fun. And the Blue Tobias reference… not very far off at all. 🙂

      It sounds like you’ve struck a great work/life balance — not easy to achieve, I’m sure. Achieving balance seems to be the Big Life Question for most people I know, especially all the factors (e.g., commutes, kids’ extracurricular activities, and sleep) are tallied up.

  4. Miriam says:

    I haven’t seen Blue Man Group, but reading this makes me want to 🙂
    I’m sure there are chocolate-related businesses you could get in to. I think it’s quite an art, making high-end chocolate. Have you considered it? Seems like something that could be started on a small scale.
    I’m raising my children with the idea that they can make a living AND do something they love. Time will tell, but I don’t think it’s impossible.

    • I’m trying to do the same thing — raise the kids to go with what they love and make a living at it. But in some ways I find myself wanting desperately to caution them to have a Plan B (and a Plan C-Z) in case it doesn’t work out the way they want. Can you encourage them to be dreamers who also have their feet on the ground? I don’t know. This motherhood gig, as always, is a tricky one, isn’t it?

      • Miriam says:

        Plan B is a great idea, particularly if a child’s passion is in a field that is notoriously low-paying and/or has fierce competition. I see no reason not to be trained in some sort of marketable skill that can be pay the bills while pursuing one’s dream. Perhaps as parents we can help our kids find the balance between practicality and passion.
        I do talk a lot with my kids about choices, and the responsibility that they will have if they have a family. But at some point it will be up to them… I will have done what I can and hope they make good decisions.

  5. Pingback: Virtual Hug Received! Thanks! | go mama o

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