Well, I’m taking a few minutes to blog, so there is SOME downtime. Today I got to sleep in…I’m going to be honest, I’ve been having a hard time not feeling overwhelmed. I think it’s more than just my overly busy schedule, but I think after my solo performance with the MOSL in early November I’ll be much more relaxed. I hope. Or I’m doing too much, but although that’s possible, my schedule isn’t something I can’t handle. It might be that it’s the additional stress that I’m having trouble with.
Enough complaining though What have I been doing? Well, besides teaching my nearly 45 students (something like that, though of course statistically I’m always missing a few each week), I’ve been rehearsing for various concerts and such, practicing, trying to answer emails…oh, do you mean for fun? Well, does going to the symphony concert on Friday night count? No? (It does, a little…)
Not much, which is the other reason I’m having a tough time…(Oh, I said less complaining). I feel like I used to have a more active social life, but gosh, life is just so crazy! I do have fun in rehearsals with my friends and colleagues, but lately by the end of the night I’m just beat and want to lie down and read instead of talk to people. I think that I need to grab this busy-ness while I can though, because I know January/February will be less so and the summer too, and my work is cyclical enough that I really need to take advantage.
Especially since our country’s future is so uncertain, and who knows what retirement will look like, I feel like I need to work and sock away as much as I can. I’m sure social security will be on the chopping block soon. Speaking of, did you know that self-employed people pay a higher percentage into social security that people who have employers? This is ostensibly because people’s employer’s pay on their behalf, but it still boils down to more of my money going out of my pocket, into the social security fund, and then I’m told that it’s an entitlement? HA. I’d be happy to take that cash back, with the growth it would have had while in my IRA though. And then we can call it an entitlement.
Politics is definitely tough lately. People want to yell at each other rather than listen. I had a few interesting facebook experiences lately, actually, nothing to do with politics, but it made me think. The first was when my coffee maker broke the other week. Oh, this was a sad time! I have a little tiny coffee maker than fits under a shelf in my kitchen. I don’t have a ton of counter space, so being able to fit the coffee maker under this shelf is important to me. However, I went to look online and there were sparse options for small (under 10 inches!) coffee makers, so I thought I’d try a bit of crowd sourcing. Most of the responses I got weren’t about coffee makers; they were people telling me to get a french press. Now, I love my friends and I appreciate them responding, but I already have a french press. I have a stovetop espresso maker too, a pour over thingy, and an espresso maker. I wanted a coffee maker, something I can use to make coffee, something you fill up with water, coffee, hit a button, go do something else (this is key for me, as you know) and then you return when you have a minute to pour the coffee.
My next experience was when I was changing my strings the other night. I was trying to change the G and the string kept slipping out of the peg hole (violinists know what I mean, the rest of you are going to be confused, and for that I’m sorry). What was supposed to take 5 minutes ended up taking over 20! Every time I’d get the G up past an F it would slip, making this horrible sound and making me stressed and frazzled! I finally got it to stay by using a different hole in the peg than before, making sure to wrap the string around the end a few times, and then I went and laid on the couch. But not before posting a little blurb on facebook because I was curious if this was an experience others had had. And I got numerous responses (again, if you are reading, thanks, and I love you guys!) about how to keep my pegs from slipping. Which is not the issue I had!! (I still don’t know why this was such an issue, and I will be asking my luthier next time I see him). In any case, my new strings sound great.
But what I thought was: how often does this happen? We don’t read what the person wrote, or we don’t write precisely enough, and we end up having a huge misunderstanding, or end up feeling that nobody cares or understands us, when it is simply a communication issue. Maybe social media really isn’t the best way to interact. And yet, I love seeing vacation photos, I love keeping up on my friends who live out of town and seeing what everybody is up to. So social media is wonderful for some things, and it’s just hard to figure out what’s good and what isn’t. And honestly, crowdsourcing can be really helpful! But not in the above mentioned cases.
Oh, and I did get to have lunch with a friend last week and we tried a fun new Chinese crepe place in the Loop called Bing Bing. So I’m not totally without social engagement, though it might feel like it at times. You know I tend to get overly emotional and am prone to dramatics. I’m having a GREAT time preparing for a large variety of concerts; it’s just the stress. And I’m trying to do my best for my students too, and this weekend there’s an event several are participating in, and I’m hoping that I’m giving them what they need to succeed. I’m loving teaching college students, I’m loving all the chamber music I get to play, and I’m looking forward to playing in a full orchestra concert this month…I’ve dearly missed doing that, and too much time has passed. I hope I remember how!
I’m still plugging away at the #100daysofpractice challenge on Instagram. It’s been a great motivation and a really interesting experience. It’s possible the challenge adds to my stress levels, but I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
And as I said to a colleague on the phone the other day (probably sounding a little insane at the end of the week!), the trick to being busy is finding somebody else MORE busy and then you don’t feel like you are taking on too much. There’s always somebody working more, there’s always a bit more room in the schedule (especially for random gigs!) and there’s always more to learn, to experience, and to play!
And there you have it. My tired Sunday night ramblings and diatribe. But one of my personal goals is to continue to blog, at least shoot for weekly, because as I always say, I enjoy it. It helps organize my thoughts as well, and I enjoy making the record. Even if blogging is “dead.”