Feel Like Talking?

Rats.  I feel like talking, but there’s no one to talk to.

I tried calling my mom first – she’s usually my first call when I feel like chatting, or when I need someone to take my mind off things that are bothering me.

But her phone’s been busy for the past 30 minutes.

So I tried my friend Pat, who left me a message on my answering machine at home, saying she was thinking about me and just wanted to say hi.

But she wasn’t home.

Then I tried my friend Millie, my BFF as the kids would say.  Although I was a bit reluctant to talk to her because I’m going to have to give her an answer (soon) about whether I’m willing to return to Classical Bells next year  (which is actually one of the things I’m looking to be distracted from).

Anyway, she wasn’t home either.

So I guess I’ll talk to you.

You know who you are – my wise, wonderful blogging friends…Star, and Bella (both Bella’s), and Sherry, and June, and Deirdre, and Imelda, and Tammy, and Tara, and Anno, and …well, the list goes on and on.

At least one of you has to be out there to listen 🙂

So the past month or so has been a little crazy for me – some upheaval in my finances, some worries about my children, some decisions to make about my plans for the future.  Some of that is starting to settle down – the refinancing is over and done with, the kids are home safe and sound -and now I have to concentrate on me for a bit,  try and decide what shape I want the next year or two to take.

You know I’ve been mulling over this idea of a “me” year – actually a retreat of sorts, where I could spend my free time focused on writing or even on some new activity that might spark my interest.  For the last decade, music has been my alter ego.  Seriously, I almost feel as if I have this other identity – an action figure type character who peels off her sweats and tennies, pulls on her concert dress blacks and hurls herself onto the stage to create musical magic.

It’s a rush, it really is. 

But it’s also a lot of hard work to get there.  You all know I’m a perfectionist, which means I beat my brains out over every piece to make sure it’s perfect, to make sure no matter what goes on around me during the performance, that I will have my part down cold.

Part of me says, give yourself a rest from that. 

But…and you knew that was coming didn’t you?  But, what if I get bored? What if I sink back into that person I was 15 years ago, who hung around the house all the time, who didn’t have any social life, who was rather introverted and one dimensional and (dare I say) boring?

Because it’s really easy to stop striving, to pull back on the reins so far that you’re just loping along through life, especially if you have nothing providing that little kick in the butt to spur you forward.  

Sure, I enjoy days like yesterday and today, days when I’ve nothing more pressing than writing a post for Sunday Scribblings, or doing some laundry, or making dinner.  But would I want a whole year of those days?
Won’t I need more focus than that to keep me from sinking into old-ladyhood?

You know, going out into the wide world was never much encouraged in my family.  I don’t come from a long line of ambitious over-achievers.  Slow, steady, and above all, safe were the buzz words during my upbringing.  So it’s really easy for me to lay back and lay low, because that’s what my family would rather have me do.  And sometimes, even at my advanced age, it’s hard to go against the grain of those kinds of expectations.

I guess I need to think a little more about who I am, apart from the expectations of anyone else, and think about the things that make me the happiest even if they sometimes aren’t easily accomplished.

Gee, I’m glad we talked.



16 thoughts on “Feel Like Talking?

  1. I’m here! … enjoying some lingering delight at that image of you as an undercover superhero musician!

    It seems like it would be hard to leave a domain where you’ve had success, enjoyed recognition… and for what? Something you haven’t figured out yet?

    But maybe that’s the issue: Sometimes I think that women, maybe especially because we tend to value social connections more than men, are more susceptible to lending their gifts to other people’s projects and aspirations than figuring out their own desires. It can be dangerous to say “I want…” It can upset any number of apple carts around you. Figuring out your own dreams takes some time, enough to get past that knee jerk reaction of “why am I wasting my time doing nothing. I might as well go back to doing [whatever you were doing before].”

    I’m in the “Go for it!” camp. Any woman who has worked, raised a family, sustained a marriage, not to mention, treated her community to wonderful music, deserves some time to herself. Take it, enjoy it, prepare to be surprised…

  2. “Prepare to be surprised…” I like the sound of that! And you’re absolutely right, it is definitely easier (at least for me) to jump on other people’s bandwagon rather than trying to figure out my what I want to do at my own party.

    Great observations, Anno. Thanks for listening 🙂

  3. I’m here to throw support behind Anno. Although I have to say my reasoning may come from a different direction. I’m holding very positive thoughts for B&N and know that you will want to be very present in a new role soon (and not tied down to a serious commitment). Now is your chance to do some exploring.

    So glad all are safely home 🙂

  4. I understand how you are feeling, because you are leaving a structured setting, one that you know and excel at, and you are trowing yourself into the unknown. Writing, painting, and most creative activities lack structure. It all comes down to us, to what we do with our time, and how we approach your project. But I say that you better do it now. Because YOU CAN do it. It is not a decision you should postpone, because later something might get in the way. Do it! You will be happy you did.
    If you have time, come by my place as I have something for you.

  5. I echo the encouragement given before me…but let me also say this: It’s easy to be discontented. How can you live and think without sometimes feeling so?

    We are bound by space and time to one place at a time. If I am here doing this, I can’t be there doing that. I know this, yet I still struggle with it…trying to learn the lesson of stillness…the lesson of accepting that I am not…I can never be… “enough” while in this body and that at the same time I am complete.

    Not sure I’ve made my thoughts very clear…

  6. Star – you’re quite right about that possibility, and believe me, it has great bearing on my way of thinking about this. And thanks for the good thoughts 🙂

    Beatriz – “Writing…lack structure. It all comes down to us and what we do with our time and how we approach our project.” Wow, we’ve just met and you’ve already figured out the thing that scares me most! Thanks for the encouragement 🙂

    June – You made yourself quite clear, and I agree, it’s part of the human condition to always wonder about what “might have been.” I’m very good at condsidering all the alternatives – to a fault! “The lesson of stillness…” is one I need to learn.

  7. Hey there! I really think a change of pace would do you good. I bet a bunch of new opportunities and new experiences are bound to present themselves once you make that change/decision.
    Maybe looking at this as giving yourself some time off with the option of going back after a year?
    There is always the promise of going back to what you do if things get boring. But I doubt they will.
    I don’t know, Becca. It is hard to put ourselves first, to *go against the grain* and make little waves in our lives. If you knew someone in a similar situation, what encouragement (or advice) would you give them? Whatever speaks from your heart, I would follow that.
    **Totally enjoyed my Sunday morning coffee with you**
    xo ~one of the two Bella’s!! LOL

  8. I’m sorry I was in bed when you wanted to talk!! But I’m glad that others were available. I know the feeling all too well — we want to share with someone and there’s no one we care to share with available. I’ve been feeling that a way a bit myself and on some small level we feel abandoned!!

    As for your worries about change, about your thoughts to move forward. It’s fear. It’s risk. It’s so normal. And you and I are experiencing something similar. I’m almost at the point you are in life — my children are 20 and 16 — 20 has lived away from home for a bit with University and is his own man, yet he still needs me/comes to me when he’s home during summers. I’m almost at the empty nest stage.

    But having gone through the 3 years of enlightenment with cancer I’m also about not wanting to revert to who I was before — so I fully appreciate and understand your fears of becoming boring and idle. But the secret is this — neither of us will revert to who we were before because we know too much, we’ve experienced too much AND…we also know there is more to learn, to know — not just about life but about ourselves. You talked about the musical side and how fulfilling and rewarding that has been. Which means you are reaching inside and finding out who you are and what you really love.

    A retreat? I’m all for this idea. I’ve been craving it myself and think about it from time to time…me go away, even if it’s just a week, somewhere on my own and just live and think and be and discover. I have never lived on my own — went from my childhood life to married life. I crave this experience so much, especially since I’m watching my first born do this. I’m actually envious of him for this experience!!!

    Another secret? Listen — just be still and listen. Ask for the direction (I talk to God every morning in the shower — we have a catch up kind of chat..I do the talking, he listens and goodness if somewhere that day or the next the way isn’t clearer!) you need and if you are still and listen your heart will tell you exactly what it is you need and want.

    I’m with you — lets make this trip together!!! ♥

    Much love.

  9. Bella – What a good question to ask – what would I tell someone else in my position? And it would be your next sentence…”listen to your heart.” Great advice (and from one so young 🙂

    Sherry – My wise and wonderful friend, you have touched on some very important points. Part of the reason my musical experiences were so satisfying was that they were mr first forays into a real independent existence. I went straight from mommy and daddy to marriage as well, and never had the experience of being “on my own.” And I know what you mean about envying the son -I’ve felt that too!
    Your experience with cancer gives you a rare perspective on living life’s journey, and I value the wisdom you’ve learned the hard way!

  10. I don’t really know you but I guess that’s what makes the blogging world fun.

    It sounds to me like you just need a break, something new for a while. You said “the things that make me the happiest even if they sometimes aren’t easily accomplished” and I think that’s the key: find what you want to do now, even if it’s hard.

    I love your writing style. Thanks for sharing.

  11. New pursuits are waiting for you. When you open yourself up to them, they’ll show themselves. It sounds like the music is no longer energizing you. I know that it has been gratifying at times, but I believe something new and stimulating will arrive when you open yourself to it. You’re ready for that. You deserve that. The worst part is the transition. Once it’s over, you’ll be relieved.

    Just this morning,I was telling my husband about always choosing the “safe” thing when I was growing up. I was not a risk taker. I told him that when we move to the next phase of our lives, I’m going to live differently. It isn’t so much about taking risk as it’s about not allowing fear to prevent choosing new paths.

  12. I really get your angst Becca because I’m in the thick of it. I need more social interaction and I”m feeling isolated and bored.

    You are on a precipice and a “Becca” year of what you want and need is perfect. Time and opportunities are waiting for you. I’m very excited for you as I read between the lines because you are just beginning. I have faith that you will be a published, happy gramy in the future.

    I want to hug you and jump into tommorrow with you for it’s going to be a great ride for both of us. We just need to shed our old habits and go for it.

    Are ya ready? Grab my hand and lets go! HUGS

  13. Rebecca- “Find what you want to do and do it, even if it’s hard.” Such good advice – I think you know me pretty well for a such a new acquaintance!

    Barbara – It’s good to know there are even more listening ears in the network! Thanks 🙂

    Bella Rum – “Something new and stimulating will arrive when you open yourself to it.” I keep forgetting that – thanks for reminding me! I think I’m afraid I’ll close myself back up like I once did, but now I know how the universe has ways of sending us what we need when we need it.

    Tammy – You always have the kick in the butt I need to steer me in the right direction. And there’s no one I’d rather jump off into tomorrow with than you! WHEE!

  14. I’m sorry I’m late.

    All your questions stirred up a few of my own, which in turn leads me back to how we define ourselves by our activities. I don’t have anything wise to add, no suggestions for your next step, but I will plant a little seed; out of quiet time there sometimes comes a new sense of self, something magical and rich. How would it be to sit and see what happens?

  15. I sometimes think it might not have been a good thing for me to have been such an overachiever when I was young. But, now, loping through life, as you put it, is actually a lot of fun. I think your “me” year sounds great. I don’t recommend giving up everything that you’ve been doing, but eliminating some of what doesn’t make you happy to make room for something new is good.

    I always had to be where the action is. Never thought I’d end up owning a spinning wheel and enjoying knitting.

    You are a very talented writer. You could spend the time writing your novel. My only regret is that I haven’t been able to jumpstart my former writing and photography career. I keep hoping that someday something will turn me on to it again, but in the meantime I have plenty to do as a homebody.

    I’ve made some new friends from the knitting guild and some blogging friends that I see occasionally in person. I don’t really miss all of the social events I used to go to. I’d trade all of the old social stuff for more time to spend on the U.P. looking at Lake Superior. So, if you want a “me” year, go for it.

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