Throughout my six years of professional piano playing, I realize that I have made a mistake by choosing this profession. What once started out as a fun hobby, soon became something I despised. Keep hobbies as hobbies, don't force them into professions. I have lost the one thing I used to go to, to get away from daily monotone life.
I began playing piano at the age of thirteen and had graduated piano theory and school at eighteen. At this point in my life, fresh out of high school, I did not know where to turn as I waited for college to begin. Never have had a job, I looked for ways to get hired and make an income. Sadly, my most credible skill was my piano playing and I thought "why not?". I went to the mall and noticed there was a pianist there that always played for ambience. I thought I could play music like that no problem and applied for a position there. After having been tested out, I got the job and began my four hour shifts of daily playing. At first I loved the job but it soon outgrew me, and when I went home, I no longer had anything to turn to, to relax.
Having worked at the mall was not too bad, I got to know new people and it brought me gigs along with new friends. The gigs were more demanding and required me to emphasize skill and hard work. I found myself practicing for hours on end and being sick of running in circles around the same mistakes I made while trying to memorize the pieces. To add to that, there was plenty of stress associated with deadlines. Now no longer did I want to see the piano, I now hated it and wanted no part of it and wanted to drop it.
It took me a couple of months of no playing piano to finally start missing it. There was a drawback to that, I had lost some of the skill and had forgotten some of the pieces that I used to cherish. However, I felt the joy of playing and that was more than enough for me. Take it from someone that experienced it, find a job you can tolerate, and work. Do not do something you love only to start hating it because you will lose something very precious. I have kept my piano playing as a part time job just to pay for my necessities, but no longer have to push or force anything from my hobby.