Music Ed Monday – The Year of No
A few years ago, two of my very good friends made a New Year’s Resolution to say yes to anyone invited them out to something, hoping to embark on some new adventures and live a little more.
“Want to go out for drinks?” Yes.
“Want to go snowboarding next weekend?” Yes.
“Want to come to the beach in fifteen minutes?” Yes. Yes. Yes.
And so on, and they had many wonderful excursions and made a ton of great memories. They were tired, but it was worth it.
For any of you who know me personally, you know that every year of my life has been a “Year of Yes.” It doesn’t take much to get to me to come out, take a job, help out, or anything like that. It’s usually good, but it takes away something that I recently discovered that I really enjoy: Leisure time.
This winter break, I didn’t work as hard as I needed to. I just couldn’t. I still got to the piano most days, sent away drafts, proofread scores, and sent/responded to emails, but I started this break so tired. Not the tired from a weekend of partying, but the tired that comes from pushing yourself for months without a respite, which I often (read: always) do to myself.
This is the last year of that. I’m still absolutely going to finish what I’ve started, but if new work comes my way that I’m not 110% thrilled about, I’m just not going to take it. Am I still going to keep writing and taking some new work? Absolutely, but not all of it. Not because I don’t like the extra money (because I really, really do), but because I rediscovered how much I like going on dates with my wife, hanging at friends’ houses, watching movies, playing video games, doing puzzles, reading books, unwinding at my parents’ house, going for coffee with my dad, and/or getting up in the morning and feeling like a functional human being.
“Wow, I’m feeling shaky and it’s only my second cup of coffee.” YES. THAT’S BECAUSE YOU RESTED AND THEN YOU SLEPT.
“Wow, I can’t believe it’s 10:30 and my eyes are still open.” LIKE A NORMAL PERSON.
This is connected to a much larger complex relationship that I have with my own productivity, self-esteem, and personal value, but that’s for a different post.
This is the year that I stop caring so much about how much work I’ve done and focus more on doing the things I want to do. Also, because I didn’t slave away quite as hard this break, I got some of my best composing done in a long time. There’s a big difference between “hitting the piano to work” and “hitting the piano to write,” and I was saying the former a whole lot more than the latter this year. This is the year that changes.
When I told my wife, she just smiled and said “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Me too, me too…