Opinion

Leading double lives | Ann Oxrieder

My former job took over my life, which is why I’m intrigued by people who lead double lives, not as secret agents but as regular day workers who turn into artists after hours.

I know three Eastsiders who transmogrify into musicians when not at work. Spencer Welch, former Sammamish High School principal, current university educator and pianist; Marilyn Pedersen, Rep. Ross Hunter’s executive legislative analyst and violinist; and Emily Leslie, human services manager for Bellevue Parks Dept. and Seattle Peace Choir member.

Spencer plays solo at Perche No restaurant in Seattle, at weddings and other events. His fingers glide from pop to show tunes to classical pieces in a a matter of seconds. He also plays his own compositions.

Emily is following in the footsteps of her father, who held one job as an attorney and another as a symphony violinist. Like Emily, Marilyn plays well with others, jamming with fellow legislative staffers in Olympia. She says that when the Legislature is in session, telephone and email exchanges may sound off-key, but legislative aides with bosses from both parties find harmony as they bow, pick, strum and sing together. At home she plays with her latest band, “Marilyn and the G Strings,” also known as the “wine drinkers with a ukulele problem,” appropriately at the Grape Place in Kirkland.

Why do they do it? Emily says, “When you're immersed in human services needs all day, it's very uplifting to do something creative at night.”  Spencer agrees. “Providing myself a creative outlet makes everything else in my life go better.” Marilyn speaks for all of them when she says, “I’m not defined by the work I do. I’m a human being, not a human doing.”  Words of wisdom for those of us who confuse our day jobs with our identities.

Ann Oxrieder has lived in Bellevue for 35 years. She retired after 25 years as an administrator in the Bellevue School District and now blogs about retirement at http://stillalife.wordpress.com/.

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