I spent a good deal of time speaking with an old friend yesterday about what we're doing with our lives.  It was surprising to me that, though he is successfully touring around the world as a concert pianist, he's not even sure if he likes playing piano.  And I had to ask him, "Why would you put yourself through all of that if you don't even like it?"  Being a musician is so difficult and stressful.  It doesn't seem worth the strain unless you can't live without it.

He says he did it because of his Tiger Mom.  He recalls the moment when she cried after he told her he wanted to quit at 15.  (He was already a student at Curtis at the time.)  And that guilt is what made him continue.

And now, he's 33 and trying to figure out how he can retire by 40.  At this point, all his efforts go toward earning money.  And he talks about it ravenously.  I asked... "What are you going to do with it?"

"I'm going to buy my freedom,"  he said.

I told him I already feel free.  And then realized that I have something rare.  I'm not sure if it's because of the values that my parents instilled in me, or just by virtue of my personality that I feel this way.  But I'm pretty certain that freedom is hard to come by.  And so I felt lucky at that moment.  And a little sad, too.  And sort of confused, but ascertaining some understanding.

Interesting, the things that drive us.  And the long lost reasons for which.

Here we go, Day 276: