The work I do is, at times physically taxing. The hours are inconsistent. The pay is low. And most people have no idea what's involved. And while I know the same can be said for many, many jobs, I can only speak from my own experience.
One of the jokes I like to make during the particularly trying times is "Well, is a life in the arts everything you dreamed it would be?" Most of the time the answer is, unfortunately. "no." But there are times when the answer is a deafening "Yes!". When it's just a job it's like any job. What other people do for fun is work for us. Your Friday night is our Wednesday afternoon. But there are performances that make all the work worthwhile.
My father used to tell me that he had never been paid to perform his music. The money he got at the end of a show wasn't for the show, but for the rehearsals, the set up and teardown, the driving, and the time away from his family. The actual performing was for him.
Being a part of a great performance is its own reward. When the elements you've put your time, sweat, sometimes blood into come together it can be transformative. Sometimes it's a personal experience and sometimes it's something you share with the whole audience. It can be funny or heartrending of awe-inspiring.
This is why We work while others play and play while others work. This is how we're able tho form lasting friendships with people we work with only a few days and hen don't see for weeks, or even years.
It is for those moments that I love what I do. And that is why, even when I doubt my ability to make my living doing what I love, I know, one way or another, I'll keep doing it as long as I'm able. His week has been a much needed reminder of that.