Thursday, February 16, 2012

I Didn’t Do It.

For months, I’ve had a bucket-list-war-room map, covered with sticky notes, hanging on the wall.  I was hoping to take a sabbatical leave from my summer job this year and do some serious touring.  Finally visit all those “next year, next year…” destinations, do all those “next year, next year…” things.  I’ve heard the call of so many alluring places, without so much as pulling over for a look-see, for eight years going on nine now, always promising myself that “next year” I would find the time to see them.  Enough! This year is next year.  With my one day off a month work schedule of late *(and much of it not the sort of work I love) I thought hanging the map on the wall would give me something to look forward to.  A light.

I almost did it.
I almost took the map down.

I almost said it.  “Maybe next year…”


2011 was the year of expensive unexpected expenses.  $1200 in plumbing here.  A $1300 car repair there.  Replacing said newly repaired car (I had a little – make that a lot – of help with that one, thankfully).  $1000 in vet bills here.  $1000 in unplanned housing expenses there. Travel expenses for failed job searches… You get the picture.  And it wouldn’t be fair not to admit I have only myself to blame for a certain additional expenditure.  I don’t regret it, but it didn’t do much for the bottom line.* *

Summers present an income challenge for most classical musicians.  Work is hard to come by, and what work there is usually does not pay anything close to industry standard wages.  So we do our best to pad the bank account during the busy season, grab what scraps of employment we can during the summer, and hope by the time the money starts coming in for real (relatively speaking) in October, we’re not living on the street.  Thanks to all the, uh, excitement 2011 brought me, I’ll be entering summer 2012 with the smallest safety net ever.   So yeah,  you can understand why I soon realized turning this year into the mythical “next year” was pretty delusional.  If nothing else, you can generally count on me to do the responsible thing.  The right thing.  Sometimes, I really, really hate that.

So this time I didn’t. Take the map down.  A funny thing happened instead.

The same week I received the annual initial inquiry from my summer employer (“Are you coming?”), we played a special concert here at home.  It’s the 100th anniversary of Arizona’s statehood this month and to celebrate, the Tucson and Phoenix symphonies jointly commissioned a new piece of “symphonic photochoreography” to accompany our performances of Grofé’s “Grand Canyon Suite.”  After one of the rehearsals, the orchestra musicians got a chance to see this spectacular slide show for themselves.

My heart twisted with grief. I missed my motorcycle.  I was almost ill.

So I didn’t do it.  And, as a result, starting June 7…  I’m doing it!***

Motorcycle Touring Map
The war room map.  I made a bit of a compromise,*** so I won't hit all the sticky notes originally planned, but I think I can still get plenty of miles in.  Feel free to send me a nice little netbook, so I can report on my progress in a timely manner.  Thanks!

 * Happy exception last October, which I still haven’t told you about.  I swear I’ll get to it soon!
**All my complaining and drama aside, I am amazed at and grateful for how well I (along with most of the musicians I know) seem to be able to live on so little.  It’s a matter of careful choices, priorities, willingness to work hard when opportunity presents, flexibility, thrift, and much ingenuity.  Lucky, I am.  I try hard not to forget that.
*** Compromise: I’ll be having a “half-bucket list” summer.  I’ll still work in Utah, but I’ve arranged, for one year, to shave a number of weeks (and dollars) off my seasonal stay.  I should have almost a month of Ducati touring time before showing up to my first rehearsal. And since my schedule will be unusually light while I am there, I’ll get to tap into the almost endless new-to-me local off-road exploring on my "Li’l Burro” once I arrive. 


CB said...

AWESOME!! I am SO glad you "Didn't do it!" Kudos to going with your gut, Paula - you're an inspiration! :)

Paula said...

Thanks for the "yay" vote. I almost posted a "Do I or Don't I" poll last week.