Recently, I have moved back to my home country, Belgium and have thus decided to leave my Piano Man life by Queenstown's wharf, behind.
This has been a long process of wanting to return to my sources and establish once and for good. It was a tricky choice for many reasons, but all in all, I feel good about it. And here is why..
On day, I picked up a piano, played it, and thought it would be fun to play it outdoors, where nobody would expect to hear a real upright piano being played. I wanted to do something new, something strange, something that would diffuse beauty and inspire. Now that worked out far beyond my non-existent expectations: I composed 6 albums, quickly made a living from it and all the way for 5 continuous years, played at weddings, concerts, shows, fairs, markets, gave a TEDx talk, was featured in the National Geographic Merit Prize Winner, met and sold albums to Orlando Bloom, organized my own concert tour.., met countless people, touched many, hugged tons, inspired some, connected with dozens..
And all the while, I had the comfort of much spare time to spend at other activities and interests. I read tons of books, went on multi-day tramps, discovered and experienced pottery, painting, building, website development, video making, etc. It was great in many ways, traveling in Winter, playing piano in Summer, living in a van, building a tipi, going to Asia, etc. I had a blast, that's the least to say.
So why did I chose to leave it behind?
Well, for the same reasons that I started in the first place: I am not having my blast at it anymore. I started this as a spontaneous expression of my passion for piano, as the focus of my interest at that time. Now, I have grown wary of playing piano by the lake, dreaming of more socially engaged and diverse projects.
While playing my tunes on and on, I dreamt of building natural homes, permacultural orchards, designing and leading projects to enhance our environments and lives as human beings, building my own home, settling down. This, although I adore New Zealand for so many obvious reasons, I would want to do in my home country, near my family and in the environment that is home to me.
It took me the same leap of faith to leave the piano behind than it took me to go for it in the first place. I had to let go of the known to go towards the unknown. Yet I know staying in the "swamp" of my wariness is worst than moving and giving a go at something new. Following passion means leaving fear behind, letting go of the priority of security. If I am to be happy, and that is my most important task in this world, I am also to do what I love and love what I do. Playing Piano as a primary activity and income was no more my first choice. I still love it and will always play piano in my life. But I will direct my energy and enthusiasm towards other projects.
So yes, the Piano Man, as we knew it, is gone. Or may be he has grown. I feel I have definitely turned a page. I took the time to reflect upon life, and that time is now fulfilled. My travels have brought me to another stage of myself, in which I am ready to go back to my home country and build from there.
Who knows what will the future hold. I am happy I did it all, and would not make it any different would I have the opportunity to do it again.
Wish me good luck,
I hope you too get to drive your life the way you dream it!
Mathias, from Belgium.