The Thrill is Gone

It’s over. 

There’s no doubt in my mind. 

Yesterday was proof positive – seven excrutiating hours, endless nagging and niggling over petty details, nothing ever quite right, no one happy, nothing being accomplished.

I’m done.

I admit, for a moment there, I was thinking about giving it another try.  A hand was offered (again) and it occurred to me that perhaps this outreach was a sign this relationship was “meant to be,” that I should step back into the ring and start swinging once again.

But after yesterday, I knew I was through.

My relationship with Classical Bells is over.

When I joined this performing group in 1998, it was such an exciting experience for me, and the opportunities that arose from being a member were priceless -performing with the Detroit Symphony, playing for national conventions in Las Vegas and Virginia, and countless other concert venues in between.  Life long friendships were created and cemented and countless laughs and tears were shed over late night wine fests/practice sessions.  Believe me, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen 13 pajama clad women in a hotel room at 1:00 in the morning, drinking wine and  “air-belling” their entire program. 

I left the group about five years ago, but I’ve remained on the sub list, meaning I return to fill in at rehearsals (and occasionally concerts) for friends who are on vacation, maternity leave, or some other emergency situation.  Yesterday was just such a day…the annual weekend “retreat” that occurs every fall, a two day marathon of rehearsals to get a jump on the fall concert schedule, which this year will culminate in a performing tour in France to celebrate the ensemble’s 25th anniversary.

That’s right.  Seven days in France – three concerts, the final one being in the American Chuch in Paris. 

Even as I write, there is a huge part of my heart that’s screaming “Do It! Do It! Do It!”  Because not only have they asked to me come, they’ve offered to pay my way.

Before you light into me with cries of “Are you crazy?”…let me enlighten you a bit.  Returning to this group would require a “Gi-Normous” committment.  Six hours of rehearsal every Monday, plus a hefty concert schedule…24 concerts are already on the books (including 13 in the month of December alone – everyone wants bells at Christmas time).   A concert entails at least 6 hours (not including travel time).  And I haven’t even figured in the practice time to learn/re-learn all the music.


When I joined this group in 1998, I was in my forties, I had only one home, I wasn’t working, and all my elderly relatives were healthy and independent.  Every one of those circumstances have changed, in ways that make the level of commitment and energy required to be a member of this group impossible for me to support.

Knowing when to quit is not easy.  I’m always impressed by entertainers and athletes who have the guts to quit while they’re ahead, before they lose their ability, but also before they lose their love.  I have wonderful memories of my time in this group…I gained enough confidence in myself to go out into the world and tackle things I’d never done before.  But yesterday, after spending the entirety of a beautiful fall day stuck inside a musty church with 12 snarly women, I realized that coming back could mean tarnishing all the good memories with dissatisfaction, resentment, and anger.

I don’t doubt that I’ll feel pangs of regret come spring when they all set off on their journey to France.   But I know I’ve made the right decision in the long run. 

I’m over it.


So, how about you?  Have you ever quit while you were ahead? 


9 thoughts on “The Thrill is Gone

  1. “Air-belling”? Man, I wish I could see that!

    The promise of a trip to Paris really grabbed me, too. But then, as I read about the commitment it takes to make this group work, my stomach clenched.

    Last year, I made the wrong decision, took on a project I had initially declined (because of schooling commitments, aging parents, etc.), and ended up not being to come through with what I had said I would do. Life was a mess. Never again.

    I think you made the right decision.

  2. I’ve quit when I’ve been ahead, and I’ve quit when I’ve been at the end of my rope. The first is much more preferable, and on my part, at least, shows maturity, which is a nice thing to gain closing in on 50. 😉

    Congratulations… and huge hugs. I’m sure this wasn’t an easy decision.

  3. Look what you did! You said “No”. I’m proud of you – and you should be proud of yourself, for assessing the situation and valuing yourself, your time, your energy enough to say “No”. Yay, Becca! So, when you do go to Paris, it will be with your own agenda, your own plans, your own itinerary, and without the cost in blood, sweat and tears that this would have involved.

  4. I have done it many times. Only you can make the choice you need to make. We all need to be doing what pleases us most and saving time for the things we love the best is part of the big picture. None of us can do it all. If you think you can you will soon be sent to the looney bin!!

  5. While there are times when I relapse, I’ve come a long way in that department. Initially, the problem was in learning to say “no” and mean it, but eventually what it boiled down to was trusting myself to make the decision, whether “yes” or “no.” I’ve learned to approach decisions by comparing the pros and cons with an honest heart and then not second-guessing myself once the decision has been made.

    I’m so glad you were given just the right set of circumstances to allow you to see the wisdom of your decision. Now, on to the next exciting chapter!

  6. I’m doing a “happy dance” over your wisdom of this descision. You said “no” for all the right reasons, for YOU!

    I’ve quit toxic relationships when it hit me that life is too short. Does that count? lol


  7. What a good lesson you’ve learned. I’m definitely still in the learning stages of this one. Though I am making an active choice to stop doing so much, and it feels really nice. Good for you for turning down what would have become another obligation, in spite of the free trip. Take yourself to France when you can instead!

  8. I understand how hard but how necessary this decision was. I’m surrounded all day, five days a week by people making exactly the same sort of decisions. What can I do? Do I have time to fit this in? I have another event that night, oh no, I can’t even make it to see your concert, let alone perform with you. Being a musician and balancing everything in your life to make it work is very very hard, in deed.

  9. Even with all of the problems, it sounds like this was a wonderful experience. We all have to give up things we love because the time isn’t right or we have other responsibilities as you do now. But, we are left with the good memories, as you pointed out.

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