I’m not taking an exam this year! I know, that’s kind of old news. But let me expand on how I’m taking advantage of that recent change in my life.
Since I’m not spending all my time working or studying for an exam, I have some time to spare. And I don’t want to waste a moment of it. Initially I wanted to do three things with that time: ride my bike, sing, and dance.
First, I wanted to make myself a healthier, fitter person. And I want to have fun doing it. So I set a gigantic physical goal that requires that I stay “on task” with a fitness plan. I’ve wavered a bit here and there, but I always get right back on track because I know I have that gigantic challenge hanging out in front of me. I know that seems a little like using a stick for motivation, but I’m looking forward to the carrot at the finish line … the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment when I cross that finish line after 50 miles!!!
I also wanted to reconnect a little with the old me. I used to be somebody who read and sang, constantly. In fact I survived my younger years by living in books; and when I absolutely had to be in the real world, by singing.
Music completed me. But I’ve spent too many years being an academic, and then a computer cubicle jockey. I’ve been totally obsessive about passing my next final, finishing my research, passing my career exams, and work, work, work. I can’t remember the last piece of fiction I read, and my last vocal performance was about 18 years ago (a local production of Evita, when I was living in Northern California).
Since I’m not affiliated with a school or a church, and I’m not an actor (and not interested in joining a theater group), my opportunities for singing recreationally are limited. But Corvallis has the answer! We have a local women’s choir that also isn’t affiliated with either a school or church. Jubilate is open to all women, regardless of their …. anything.
It’s been amazing for me. During my first rehearsal with them, I thought my chest was going to explode with all the longing, belonging, and sheer happiness. It about made me cry to realize I had let go of all of that for so long. The do keep a pretty aggressive pace; a lot of new music to learn, not a lot of direction early on, so a big burden on your individual shoulders to learn your part and keep up.
But we finally had our first performance last Friday; my first performance in 18 years. I couldn’t believe it. I was so nervous. But it was a smaller, less formal, and really friendly supportive group. We sang a very small set for the opening of a photo exhibit at the local Methodist church. I couldn’t believe how nervous I was leading up to this, and how “right” it felt once we started singing. I’ll have to take a “sabbatical” from the group when I start studying again, but I’m looking forward to being part of this group (off and on) for a long, long time.
Oh right. I also mentioned that I wanted to dance this year. I’d love to be able to pick up the Argentine Tango again. I LOVE the music, and the dance. But it turns out there are only 24 hours in a day, and I’ve already taken on all I can handle with the riding of the bike and the singing. It’s always on the back of my mind though … maybe when I have a little more time.