“Beware the hobby that eats.”-Benjamin Franklin
For many modern circus performers the ‘career’ starts out as a hobby; An interesting and enjoyable way to spend a few hours a week. Over time the passion and obsession creeps in and before you know it you’re filling in your first self-employed tax return and cursing the day you passed on a ‘proper job’.
I’ve never really thought about the transition from hobbyist to professional. I’m sure for some there comes a time when they say “right I’m going to make my living from this”, and go on to do so. But for must of us it’s a gradual incline (or decline depending on how things are going!) which we hardly notice.
Occasionally important choices will come our way and remind us that this is more than ‘just a hobby’. Whether it’s applying for circus school, dealing with a serious injury or taking a 12 month contract away from home these difficult choices are not often faced by a hobbyist.
I believe a hobby can (and should) be almost always ‘fun’ but a career is (and should be) challenging.
Does trying to pries a living from an ex-hobby take the enjoyment out of the work? Possibly. From my own standpoint I still love playing with objects, getting on stage, sharing the few good ideas I have with the world and getting a reaction and connection with an audience. I hope that if there comes a time when I don’t enjoy performing then I will change what/how I do it or move onto a new profession.
I still have to pinch myself from time to time, remind myself that I survive and even thrive (at times!) thanks to
my hobby, my chosen profession.