As some of you may know, I haven't been playing my guitar lately. Mainly due to my left hand injury and mental fatigue. I have had a difficult time settling in France and had a lot of things to contemplate as I navigate rough waters. However, I feel much better now since I decided to stop playing for a 4 - 5 month period.
This decision came about after the end of my teaching job contract in France at the end of April.
It is true that at times we find our selves "lost" or worse, unemployed. I want to emphasize that this depends on context: for me, it was an opportunity that I knew might never came back, and I seized it.
This is where my response to the gentleman from a week ago comes in, but first, this is what he - and others who were present - had to say about my situation, I add that they were laughing about it: Oh Mustafa, you're the luckiest guy ever, you get to sleep in and wake up when you want, and you're on a vacation!.
you might say they were joking, but we all know it wasn't a simple joke. it is a reflection of popular misconceptions, and thought. It is a reoccurring comment that I feel requires discussion.
Since the end of my contract:
1 - I signed up for a math course to refresh on my Algebra (online through Udacity), the goal is to finish high school grade 12 Algebra again, do a calculus course, then start some computer programming course or heck, even a degree.
2 - I signed up for a TESOL English teaching certificate (8 courses, 6 theory and 2 practical - online through Coursera) to improve my resume when applying as a teacher. Teaching English is very competitive here in France since it is in high demand, and their education system does not do a good job at teaching English. Therefore, people like me are in high demand.
3 - I restarted learning Maya: I bought 4 tutorials from Simplymaya.com and I have finished 3. The Taj Mahal, and the Robot's modelling and animation can be seen in my 3D gallery page. I am working on creating an Apache Helicopter model and animate its flight. In this long process of complicated CG software I learned the basic modelling, texturing, rigging, animating, and rendering processes. These are the essential 5 steps of any industry game making studio or CG films.
4 - I learned a bit of photoshop in order to texture 3d models.
5 - I learned a bit of After Effects, the results of which can be seen on my youtube channel: learn the guitar introduction video.
6 - I updated my website, created a store where you can buy my music sheet. I connected all my social media, updated all my information, paid for my domain, and created a brand that I can use on posters, ads, business cards, and all my related information.
7 - I learned how to use Abelton, industry software for creating beats and digital music. results of which can be seen through my latest youtube videos, and my new track Rumination should be coming soon to you once I finish making the video.
8 - I recorded and uploaded more than 10 videos on my youtube, 9 of which are Learn the Guitar Challenge Series, designed to motivate students to practice their guitar, in 3 languages, for Free.
9 - I finished 3 arrangements: Tchaikovsky's Arabian Dance for guitar duet. Arabian night from Alladin for solo guitar, and Sigur Ros's - Med Sud i eyrum for 5 guitars. all to be recorded and published in the coming 2 months.
now, why did I tell you all this? the point is: I wouldn't have been able to achieve anything if I was following the "model" the guy has set for me. In fact, I am doing the exact opposite, I wake up at 7:00 am everyday with a clear to-do list set the day before. I work until about 11:00/23:00 pm which then I call it a day and watch a bit of netflix, and play Ratchet and Clank (awesome game). I am very thankful for the Classical Guitar for teaching me self discipline , and how to stay on task.
The final point that I want you to walk away with is this: drum roll !!!
I/we refuse to accept unemployment as means to defeat our selves. Rather, it is an opportunity to learn something new and meaningful. Use the chance to learn and progress, ask questions, find answers. Being unemployed is not the equivalent of laziness or being dumb. It is just a situation that we might find our selves in, and when we do, we have to be determined, ambitious, and pro-active. It is a chance to reflect on who we are.
Since the end of April, I feel like I am employed to serve my life, and it helped me truly reflect on what it is to be an artist: use resources around you to create something of your own.
the fact is this: the past month has been the most productive month in my life across all media and fields. Coming after 6 years of university education in Music and 7 years of being employed.
These are short comments I post as I navigate through waters.