A New Phase

I’m in a coffee shop gearing up for the first rehearsal of NEXT weekened’s concert in DuPage.(Tchaikovsky 5, Haydn 88, and a World Premiere Harp Concertino. Click HERE for tickets and info.) It’s nice to have a little time to myself, and I had intended to use it to edit a couple of posts I had roughed out earlier, but you know what? It’s been a chaotic couple of weeks, and nothing I wrote before feels like me anymore. Too angst-y, too conflicted. I’m on the upswing again, and everything feels easy and possible again. It’s a new phase beginning, and I can’t fight it…

Steve is a wonderful stay-at-home Dad. When he left his job as Education Director for the South Bend Symphony at the end of January I was skeptical that this change would wind up being for the better for us – but it definitely has. I think I had had hopes (though not expectations) that having him home would mean an end to the drudgery of running a house – no more cooking, no more laundry. That is not the way it’s working out and probably shouldn’t be – but we’re sharing the load now in a way that has not previously been the case and while I still find that I’m spending time trying to practice and make reeds with an active baby underfoot I also find that I have an out. I can be with Zoe now without having to multitask obsessively, because I can also hand her off for an hour or two here and there and really buckle down when I need to. It’s more a difference of how relaxed I feel than how many hours I’ve really reclaimed, but it’s all I needed.

Zoe is sleeping through the night! At least, more nights than not. And I am too, and my energy levels are through the roof in comparison to a month ago.

Our big good dog, Jasper, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bone cancer, and we opted to amputate his right hind leg. Prognosis is still undetermined, but he’s healing well from the surgery and getting around better every day. And even this I read as optimistic – it’s nice to see his pain gone and the old doggieness return to our pet. He seems happier, even just a week after the operation.

It’s March! And the days are getting longer and I can see mud emerging from the snow, and it’s almost Spring and everything feels more possible. I don’t remember being overtly bothered by the weather this winter – it felt more like an irrelevant nuisance to me on top of my basic level of stress and internal panic than like a stressor, if that makes any sense – but I’m aware of my mood shifting when the sun comes out (occasionally) here in Indiana and that’s definitely an improvement, too.

And I’m more inspired by my career than I have been in years. Motivated to make changes, ready to get out there. It’s partly that having Zoe has made me want to stay closer to home, and has lessened my tolerance for driving long distances for minimal economic gains, but also that having less time in my days has sharpened my focus on what I really want to be doing which is performing in solo recitals and chamber groups. My next project involves working on my materials and self-promotional skills so that I can replace some of my daily grind with work that excites me.

I’m frequently aware of the various cycles at work in my life – monthly and seasonally, of course, but also in terms of my career arcs and project arcs, and work vs. rest days in fitness – and it’s very exciting that ALL of my personal cycles feel like new beginnings right now.

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