My son is churning through Bizet’s “Les Toreadors” on his 3/4 tuba, stumbling over the high notes, huffing in frustration. He picks at a valve, sighs deeply, and begins again. Solo and Ensemble is a mere 2-1/2 weeks away and in his twelve-year-old mind, he is in deep.
Repetition is the key, we know as adults. Those things that drove us nuts in our younger years often formed the base of our habits, our goals, our desires. Our schools, sports, and activities forced us to show up, to cooperate and perform. Practice makes perfect, right?
Then we become adults and aren’t told what to do anymore. We have jobs and educational demands and the related responsibilities, but it is on us to meet those demands and our free time is just that, free. Generate a family, and things get even more complicated.
Years ago, I remember thinking, “what happened to me? I used to be so driven”. I was in my mid-twenties, newly married and not particularly interested in my career. Chris was in art school and working full time, and we were definitely not equipped to add children to the mix. I needed something structured, and upon the urging of a friend, we enrolled in graduate school together. Once again, practice, repetition, pattern stepped in and although stressful, life felt good. Whole.
Years or maturity have set in since then. I now understandthat keeping busy helps quell my propensity toward anxious thoughts. There are times when finding a goal and focusing on the next minute, hour, day is exhausting and all-consuming. Fortunately, a lot of life is good and pure and full of surprises despite the best laid plans.
As adults we can so easily lose our community. A cross-country move or one simply across town. An overwhelming job, a failed marriage, a troubled child, aging parents, demands interior and exterior to our own. Introvert or extrovert, we are inherently social beings. Can establishing patterns – perhaps in those things that bring us pleasure – make us whole and help draw us out of our shadows? I think so.
I am an A Minus/B Plus. This means that I need a plan, but not a mandate. I’m somewhat driven and kind of lazy but only in managed doses. I’m stubborn and rigid but kind and compassionate.
This writing experiment is an example of pattern and purpose.Words and notes and thoughts, it is my Bizet solo.