What You Call Relaxing, I Call Torture

Once again I seem to find myself at a crossroad of sorts. It seems like this has been happening more and more frequently in the last year. Things that I couldn’t live without while I was single and living at home, with very few responsibilities, now feel like burdens when added to the responsibilities of taking care of a house AND myself. Things are going to slip in some area, and I’m presented with the choice of continuing with my present schedule and letting things fall as they may, or taking control of exactly how my life is going to play out in the next months.

I’m really not trying to be Cryptic McMysterypants, but I’m trying to find an eloquent way to phrase my problem.

It’s Singers.

Practice is getting ready to start up again, and I’m no more ready to continue rehearsals than I was when we finished in June. I was hoping that the months away would give me a fresh perspective and have me excited to make music again, but I don’t feel it. Instead, I see myself sitting in the hours of rehearsals that we’re going to need to prepare for a Christmas concert and our upcoming role as an opera chorus, and just dying to get out of there.

I’d like to be an elitist and blame my discontent on my time in college. Our director at the time had an extremely short fuse and didn’t tolerate the slightest bit of unprofessional behavior. We sat like undergraduate statues, silently making notes in our music and completely tuned in to exactly what he wanted at all times. We were a well-oiled musical machine, capable of anything and everything that he asked of us.

Singers is different. People come because they love to sing, and love to socialize. When they’re not singing, instead of following along, they’re whispering to their neighbors and missing important pieces of information that our director may be sharing. Because of this, we’re forced to rehearse the same sections time and time again with no improvement.

It makes me resentful of them, because my time now is so much different than my time in college. Then, I had only to attend class and learn. My days were my own, as was the time that I chose to dedicate to practice and studying. Now, my time belongs to my job, and things that need to be done around the house. Committing blocks of time during the week to any activity needs to feel rewarding, not frustrating. I want to be enjoying every second of my time there, not thinking that I could be accomplishing much more if I were elsewhere.

Not to sound princessy or state the obvious, but I also need to have time available for the many wedding-related appointments that may pop up in the upcoming months. If my Saturdays are all monopolized by rehearsals, I won’t be able to use that one day of the week that I have off.

To be clear, this IS NOT about me thinking that I’m a special snowflake and deserve solos, special treatment within the group, etc. It’s about me wanting to be with individuals that value the director’s time, their own time, and the time of everyone else in the group. If everyone can’t do that, then it may not be the right fit for me.

It comes to this- I’m ready to take some time off. I think that my main fear is that once I take that step away from the music world, I may not find my way back. In my current mindset, this doesn’t feel like a scary thing, but I can’t speak for myself down the road. Things may slow down, and I’ll be ready to pick up my choral folder again.

The more likely outcome, that I can acknowledge even now, is that things may NOT slow down. We’ll be discussing children, getting pets, and possible job changes. Right now I’m contemplating adding a second night of yoga to my schedule, because it refreshes me and provides me the incentive to work on my physical shape.

In most decisions, I find it easy enough to follow my instincts and commit to a certain path. However, in this one I want to be sure before cutting ties. It feels like closing a chapter of my life that I’ve focused on since high school, and walking away from one of the characteristics that define me. I don’t have to be a practicing musician to still be a musician, but it sure helps. I’m also aware that by freeing up some of the time that’s being taken by Singers, I may be making space for a new creative opportunity.

I’m reminded today by the muscle aches in.. well, everywhere… that are a result of a particularly difficult set of yoga last night. Sometimes, all you need to do is settle into a pose, find your balance, and breathe. You’ll eventually come out the other side.

(Yes, the title is also in reference to yoga last night, which was supposed to be “relaxing and meditative,” and left me “crippled and begging for mercy.” )

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