Sunday, September 18, 2005

finding balance

On the middle finger of my right hand I wear three rings. The first is my engagement ring, which is not a traditional gold/diamond ring, but rather a silver band with celtic engravings and a small garnet, which is my husband's birthstone. The second is a ring I bought several years ago on a trip to an international choir competition in Ireland. It was on that trip that I had the final revelation that singing was what I wanted to do with my life, and the ring symbolizes that decision to me. The third is a simple silver band engraved with the word "balance." Feeling these three rings together on my finger reminds me of my desire to achieve and maintain balance between my personal and professional lives, and helps me to feel grounded and centered no matter what I'm doing.

This was the first week that my work schedule for the fall was in full swing. Almost all of my jobs follow the calendar of the school year, leaving my summers free. Last year, I only worked about 15 hours per week. I felt like I was at a crucial point vocally, and I needed time to adjust to my new teacher and all the changes that were happening in my voice. I was extremely blessed to be able to cut back significantly on the number of jobs I chose to take, and as a result I had lots of free time for practice, reflection, listening, and just relaxing..... almost too much, if I'm honest with myself. Having as much free time as I did sometimes made it difficult to stay motivated.

This year, I decided to take on more work. I wanted to have more expendable income, to contribute more to the household expenses, and believe it or not, I felt a need to be busier. I started taking on more jobs. Now, in addition to the new job editing from home, I'm also teaching 10 hours per week of music classes for 3-5 year olds (SO cute!). I've also taken on new responsibilities at the music academy where I teach -- I'm now running a new program for young singers, and currently teaching all the classes, including a theory/eartraining class, a history/literature class, and a performance class. This only adds one hour per week to my actual teaching time, but it adds considerably more to my planning time. All of these new activities are things that I really love, and I'm excited about all of them, and about the sheer variety of work. I'll certainly never be bored! However, when added to staging rehearsals for Hansel and Gretel, applications and demo recordings for upcoming auditions, lessons, coachings, practicing, and the fact that I'm just getting over a cold, it's made for one exhausted and slightly overwhelmed singer this week!

I think I'll be able to handle everything without stressing myself out or making myself sick. It certainly helps that I love everything I do. However, this will be a good exercise in time management. Alec starts playing his first show of the season next week, which will cut even further in to the little time we already have to spend with one another. It's been quite a while since we've had to resort to scheduling time together to make sure we see each other, but I think it might be time to get out our calendars! In the mean time, I have a class of three year olds to teach at 8:00 a.m., so I'd best be off to bed.

7 comments:

Beth said...

Ohhh, I wish we lived closer so you could teach MY three year old!

Mezzogregory said...

Thank you very much for the link. How kind of you.

Melissa said...

Beth -- me too! :)

MG -- you're very welcome -- I love your blog! :)

Ariadne said...

I'll pretend to be three, if only you'll teach me! Just kidding (sort of).

Ariadne said...

But seriously, thank you for your personal words on "balance". This post came at the most amazingly perfect time, just when I needed to hear the message most. Thank you for your gentle fearlessness ...

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LB said...

I do the same thing with my jewelry - it's very symbolic to me. Depending on the day or event, I'll wear certain rings that seem to give me strength and focus for the situation. :)