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.”
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?