A coworker loaned me his copy of Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m very curious. I don’t know if it will be more about the music or the extreme lifestyle he has led. I’m betting it is more about the lifestyle. This is something I have always wondered about. What is it about the rock star lifestyle that requires such extreme living? Are normal lives not exciting enough? Are the demands on professional and popular artists so demanding that they can’t make good decisions? Are they driven by their art? Their muse? If they lived “regular” lives, could they be more creative?
I look at my own life. I’ve developed some expertise in my profession over the years. I am not a rock star in my profession, but I do good work that is often on cutting edge issues in my areas of expertise. Yet I still maintain some balance of family, church, hobbies (ignoring what this blog may indicate), work, etc. If I lived a more extreme lifestyle would I be more successful? What would I be more successful at? Is that really success?
Whenever I look at my life I see areas where I could achieve more, but I also see areas where I could have done worse. Is everyone this way? Is my inability to play complete songs or sing while I play guitar simply an indication of my “regular” life? Is my collection of haphazard gear a sign of a balanced approach or just the sign of mediocrity?
Do we just not hear about the complete failures who lived extreme and unbalanced lifestyles? Are we only seeing the “successes” because we’re talking about popularity and celebrity status? How many starving artists are out there who otherwise would’ve been perfectly acceptable attorneys competing against me in my area of expertise and career? Perhaps I should be grateful for the misguided examples of the famous rock stars who lead so many of my would-be competitors into lives of extreme failure. Perhaps I am only able to live a “regular” life because someone better than me decided to try to be famous.