I NEED a Break! Please Help

Jul 16, 2011
Hi everyone,

Its been a little while since I have posted on these forums. I need some help.

Let me tell you a quick story of my year, and why I feel like I need to take a break from magic.

This school year (My senior year in high school) is the first year that I have taken magic to school. Starting on day one, I began doing magic in the cafeteria for tables, and in the hallways for groups of kids waiting for the bell. I did this every day, and I still do magic almost every day in school. Fast-forward to now, and everyone now knows me around school as "Magic Man". Every single day I get asked several times "Do a trick!" or "Show us some magic!" This was something that I loved, but now is getting real old. See, since I started doing magic I've been more widely accepted among the kids in my school, and it seems like everyone loves me, not so sound conceded. I'm a very friendly guy to begin with, so I'm definitely not the kind of person that "needed" magic to be accepted. It was just purely for fun. At school, up until recently, I would feel either totally at peace in school (30% of the time), or feel stressed out that I was going to be expected to perform at any time (70% of the time---but it was the kind of stress where it wasn't like bad stress it was that I was excited and ready to perform at the same time). But no doubt about it, I loved doing magic, and it was my passion. I had a drive for it, and had the urge to push myself farther each and every day. I used to love these times.

More recently, the past few months, in addition to performing at school, I have been getting gigs doing magic, and its been okay. The first few gigs were awesome, some of the following were just okay. However magic kind of began to feel like a job for me. Not to mention, I started incorporating magic into all of my big school projects, which also turned magic into just work. All that, and more, left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth for magic. The stress level went up, and the satisfaction plummeted. These feelings began in mid February. And now, I just simply do not get the satisfaction and the rush from performing that I used to. Reactions don't pump me up as much, and my drive to do magic has diminished significantly. I no longer crave the feeling of performing, getting reactions, the pursuit of perfecting a trick, or even practicing. The feelings have been extremely dulled. I'm tired of going into school each and every day being expected to perform. The passion just is not there anymore like it was at the beginning of the year. It is for this reason that I feel like I need to take a break--- and step away, pursue some other interests for a while. Oh but if only it was that simple....

See, in two weeks I have a huge show for my school, which I still plan to do. Its pretty much the culmination of everything I have been doing magic-wise this year so far. I postulate that after I do this show, I will take time off from magic.

However taking time off will be difficult for a few reasons. Number one, I will still be asked everyday to do magic in school. I don't think I have much of a problem bowing away from performances in school, and saying "Sorry not today" when people ask. Not a big deal. You the reader might say "Well okay then, Delusional, just hold out until school is over, then this summer you can take your break from magic!" Well, therein lies the problem.

This summer I have a job as a Lifeguard (Its a job I love). I will be working with mostly kids from my high school, and some college aged kids (Some of whom slightly intimidate me). I'm going to be spending countless hours with these people, many times on breaks without much to do. I know for a fact that all of them will be asking me on the first day "Jon show us a trick!" Because they think that now that I work with them, I will be a never-ending source of entertainment. I really do not want to do magic at my job this summer because I definitely need that break from magic. This year has been beyond stressful for me (more than you can imagine) both with the magic and academically. My passion for magic has faded and if I were to do magic at my job this summer, I wouldn't be getting anything out of it other than added stress. I need this summer as time for me. Time to reflect, unwind, and not have a care in the world, other than doing my job. I need a break from the magic. I don't want to go in to work stressed out every single day knowing I'm going to have to perform magic, or be pestered to do magic while I'm trying to take a much-needed break from it. All that in addition to the normal pressure of having to do my job. I want to be able to go into work, for my co workers to like me for who I am, and to just focus on my job, and have fun. Having to do magic every day would impede on this. I can't have that added burdon.

It is for this reason that it will be hard to take a break from magic. I know I'm going to be asked everyday to do it, and the other co workers are going to be curious about it, and my boss will bring it up and everyone will want to see magic. But for the personal reasons I outlined above, I absolutely need to take a break from magic. How do I handle this situation?? I need to take a break for my own good, but I know they will make it so difficult to do so.

People just don't understand. It's like they don't think I have any human emotion. Like the days that people ask me to do magic in school, and I tell them "No, I don't feel like it today" They seem so offended that I would say that! And they beg and they're like "Oh c'mon dude" or even "Oh wow you're no fun!" Like they expect me to always be ready to do magic at their every beck and call like some sort of trained monkey! This has gotten way old for me. Its like they think that my entire life is magic and that is all I am. Like they don't realize that magic is just an interest of mine, and I have other things I want to pursue as well. And some days, I just want to go into school as Jon. Not as a magician. This struggle, as stupid as it may sound, has taken a bit of a toll on me. Its closely tied with the fact that at the end of the day, I want people to like me for me, and not for my magic.

Its like I show everyone something that I enjoy doing (Magic), but then I'm immediately locked into doing it for good because that's just what people will expect from me. Even if I later decide that I want to take a break.

So the main question is, what advice do you have on what I said about my summer job-- How can I take a break when people will be bugging me to do it every single day?

Any comments or advice is appreciated. Thanks everyone.

Oct 11, 2007

We have all been in some sort of situation where we have to take a break from something, whether it is magic, sports, etc. What I would recommend is to find a new field of interest and explore that for awhile. The desire to do magic will come back to you when it is supposed to and probably when you least expect it.

However, if you feel like you don't want to give it up, here are two things that you need to do:

1. Tell those that are asking you to perform, "No." That's it. If they inquire further, simply say, "An amateur does 1,000 tricks for a few people, whereas a professional does a few tricks for 1,000...and does them very well."

2. While you are denying people these performances, really do cook up one or two amazing and original routines for yourself and practice, practice, practice! Get out of your comfort zone and create some variety; maybe explore a new field of magic that you haven't looked into that much yet.

I hope that these few pieces of advice really help you cope with your stress...we have all been there whether it was with magic or not. The aforementioned line is paraphrased from the introduction to The Royal Road to Card Magic by Hugard and Braue and really does do wonders for those that are constantly pestering you. It has worked 100% of the time for me and seems to end the conversation on the topic of magic.

If you have any other questions just feel free to ask! We're all here to help!

Jul 16, 2011

Thanks for the prompt response, and for your advice. It is much appreciated.

I know for sure that I want to take a break from magic. I know you said to step outside my comfort zone and explore other areas of magic, but the problem is that I simply don't have the desire to do either of these things. This is why I need the break.

The thing with magic is that once you become known across your town for it, like me, its hard to take a break because everyone expects you to still do it. Like if someone plays clarinet in the school band, but decides to take a break from it, they're not going to get people asking them everywhere they go to "Play me a song!" They're most likely not going to face people in school and on the job everyday who will pester them to play the clarinet, and who will be resoundingly disappointed if you say "I'm taking a break from clarinet!" This is why magic is different. Once you start doing it for people, they will grow to expect it, and that makes it that much harder for me, the performer, to take a break, because I will still be asked every single day about it. Someone who takes a break from the clarinet will have the luxury of a peaceful and private break, free of outside influence, making it an easy and effective thing to do. Magic is different because the break from magic, at least so it seems, will be neither peaceful or private. Even though its an art form that was just a personal thing for me to begin with.


I've really thought a lot about this before doing magic for the people I'm around regularly. I'll just be simply straightforward with my noobish magician advice.

Jon, if I were in your shoes, I'd just be honest with everyone. Let them know you're taking a break from magic because you feel overwhelmed from performing so much, and just let that be that. I'm sure there will be some burnt bridges because of this, but at least you're in a perfect position to see who your real friends are. The ones that care will understand. And when you do decide to get back on the magic train again, you can be more guarded, and let people know that you'll only be showing magic on certain days of the month/week aside from your regular gigs. This way, you can have enough time to breathe, and let the rest of your person branch out into your other interests. Excess in anything becomes a vice, and with that being quite unbalanced. And when things aren't balanced, something or someone is bound to fall.

This also seems like a major growth spurt for you as a magician, and especially as a person. I believe after you've taken your break, and learned well from all of this, it will also make your magic a lot better when you start doing it again. I believe magic is always stronger when the audience sees the performer as someone who's connected with their humanity, because in turn, they'll also help them connect with theirs.

Hope this has helped in some way. Cheers!
Jul 16, 2011

This is amazing advice. This actually makes me feel a whole lot better about everything. Being honest with everyone is the key, like you said. Thanks so much for taking the time to help me out.

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