Friday, August 23, 2013

Today so far.

Today I left work 2.5 hours early and rode my bike from work to the co-op, where I had the luxury of grocery shopping in the middle of the afternoon. Then I biked home in the blazing sun, loaded up with produce. I tried to stick to the shady side streets and ride slow. I took a cool shower. I sat on my couch and ate a big plate of beautiful Indian food, samosa patties and coconut curry vegetables and dal and mango mint chutney. I browsed online for cheap houses for sale in old neighborhoods even though my impending self-employment makes home ownership completely impossible right now--this is just where my brain is going these days. I played with my cat. I smiled at my little row of midcentury coffee/tea pots. I napped on the couch, with the lake breezes blowing through my windows and the leaf-dappled light playing across the room. Winnie sat in the front window and monitored the situation, defending the house against songbirds. When I woke up, it wasn't even 5:00 yet. It was brilliant.

Just now, I made myself a big Pimm's Cup with plenty of cucumber slices and I'm going to make a giant caprese salad later with some chocolate balsamic vinegar and maybe some steamed green beans. I'm going to re-dye my hair and watch at least 3 episodes of Orange is the New Black. If I feel like it, I'll clean up my living room and make a big to-do list, which I've taken to doing on large drawing pads with multicolored sharpies and lots of doodling. (This makes assessing my situation and crossing things off even more fun.)

Tomorrow morning I'm going to yoga if it kills me. Unless I decide not to.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I quit my job.

The title of the post is also the substance of the post. I quit my desk job, finally, after thinking about it forever, particularly over the last year. A combination of things made it the right time:

1. job things (obviously) that I won't discuss on my blog, even though I can't get dooced for them because I already quit
2. general financial solvency (though I suppose there is now that pesky matter of the new car loan), and
3. teaching and performing for a month at music camp, and having terrific colleagues, and basically feeling like a musician, and deciding that that is how I want to feel all the time, even when things aren't going well.

So I tendered my resignation while I was away, and my last day is coming up on August 30--which, for me, is a mere 10 working days from today. I don't actually have much of a plan, beyond my various forms of savings and an increased impulse toward student recruitment. Over the last year plus, I think I've mentally laid enough of the groundwork for this move to preclude anxiety about it. Huzzah! Hire me for stuff.

I also gave myself a buzz cut and dyed my hair purple, then sort of raspberry red, and now orange.


When your hair is this short, everything is so low-commitment it's like why NOT dye it some stupid color? If you hate it you just clip it off and start over. I guess that's my current mentality.

Speaking of current mentality: last weekend some friends and I played this new-agey personal discovery game called Transformation, where you set an intention for the game--some sort of question or problem that you want to work through--and then you go through physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels, getting setback cards and insight cards and pain cards and awareness cards to help guide your thinking about your question/intention. It's very woo-woo but as long as you're willing to yield to that, it's a useful framework for contemplation. Wine and snacks help.

My intention was about fully inhabiting my identity as a musician and the obstacles to same. In some ways I think my purpose in life is not necessarily bound to music itself, but to what music/the teaching of it imparts to people, or helps them to discover about themselves. Which is to say that if I were not a musician I would probably be doing something else that had the same type of impact--likely something arty. But I think that this knowledge about my purpose, along with the lack of cultural/economic value placed on artists in US society and whatever I've absorbed about that, has prevented me from dedicating myself to being an artist. I can tell myself I'm not ambitious and that might be true, and I can say that I've prioritized all kinds of important personal relationships in my life over work and that might also be true, but the fact is that I feel more like myself and tend to thrive when I am doing music, whether it is teaching it or learning/practicing it or performing it. That in itself is a reason to be more serious about it.

Anyway, all the awareness cards that I gained throughout the woo-woo game were all like PAPOW!!! Each card bears one descriptive word and mine were leaping up at me. Energy and vitality and vigor. Fitness and enthusiasm. Daring and risk-taking. Curiosity and inventiveness. Suppleness. Flair! These stood in contrast to the cards others were drawing (gentleness and relaxation and rest and such). Whatever fun-times persona I might present in this here infrequently updated blog, I am in real life not particularly any of those things I listed above, or at least not principally. I mean obviously I am SUPPLE. But truly, I am all about chilling out on the couch and keeping it very mellow the majority of the time. Enthusiasm is not my forte, even when something truly excites me. So trust me, I really did like that gift you got me. I am just not prone to squealing with delight, unless there is a baby animal involved.

But man, I love all of those awareness card words. Especially for this time in my life. In a little less than a month, I'm officially going to be pushing 40. Why not change the story now? There's a fine line between actual self-knowledge/gentle tolerance of your own foibles and just repeating the same perception of yourself to yourself so many times that it becomes a a deep groove impossible to climb out of.

Anyway, I think I'm just going to make a big sign that says PAPOW!!! to keep me motivated on all fronts once I'm done at this job.