Lately my life has been a delicate balancing act, a long series of check marks on the “to do” list, a supreme effort to meet the needs of family and friends while also fulfilling a myriad of responsibilities to work (in all its incarnations).   It’s been a bit of a struggle, keeping all the appropriate balls in the air, and I finally understand why the jugglers are my favorite of all circus performers! 

Today was a typical example – leaving the house at 6:30 am, and driving to Oak Harbor, Ohio (about 100 miles) to accompany my friend L.’s children’s choir at their competition.   I was gone for about five hours, and played the piano for a total of eight minutes. 

Then our dinner was delayed while I waited for a call from my new friend, A., the director of the high school choir.  We had agreed to meet at my house to make a CD recording of accompaniments for one of the choirs who are doing a church program next week which I can’t attend.  (We were supposed to do this yesterday, but someone at school had “borrowed” the CD recorder and hadn’t returned it.)  Tonight,  A. was behind schedule, and didn’t arrive here until 6:30.  So I spent two hours this evening recording.

I never thought I would be described as a workaholic, but I’m beginning to think this appellation fits.  The term is usually applied to doctors, lawyers, and business types, but seems to fit this creative person more than I care to admit.  Of course, I’ve been in this situation before  – musicianship tends to take over your life, sort of  like the trumpet vine growing on my backyard fence.  No matter how many times I try to chop it back, even cutting it right down to the roots, it sprouts up with a vengeance and spreads maniacally all over my yard.

Most of the time, playing music kind of gets me high.  It’s my drug of choice, really, and even though I might be dragging my butt out the door to a performance, once I get there and start playing, it’s like a shot of adrenaline.   Tonight’s a prime example.  Three hours ago, I felt like roadkill.  But after spending the last two hours at the keyboard I’m completely rejuvenated.  I could go out dancing (if  I could dance, that is!)

But like any junkie, it’s all too easy to let the drug rule your life, let it interfere with your family relationships and work responsibilities,  let it become the thing for which you’d sell your soul.   I have to be careful about that, because when that happens, when you start to lose your balance on that tightrope, it’s easy enough to go into freefall and land in a heap.

I’m thankful to have this thing I love – this passion for music, and the ability to do something with it.  I’ve been thinking a lot lately about other ways I could use it – but I don’t dare mention these to anyone in my family!  For the time being, though, I think I need to make a slight correction on my balancing act, realign my stance, and settle into a safer spot on the rope.

How about you?  What are you balancing on the tightrope of your life?


6 thoughts on “Tightrope

  1. I don’t even know these days. I guess the balance is getting my mother settled in versus…. well, everything else.

    I do know that what you described was my life when I was really trying to get my freelance business up and running.

  2. What AM I balancing on the tightrope of life? Work — getting work done/organized/together/planned on deadline (part of that deadline being going to France, so it’s my own); concern for Greg; Not enough “arm” (or permission) to handle my own out-of-control yard and weeds… This too, will pass. It always does. But harried is the word. I hope yours soon passes so you can get back to LOVING music. (I used to be that way about writing when I did freelance, which is why I don’t anymore.)

  3. lovely sentiments–and so true. Art can become “work” and lead to workaholism just like any work can. I like the image of the trumpet vine. Hope you can get control over your viney music life. 🙂

  4. It’s always hard to keep a balance. I found I was writing too much and long hours that nothing made sense. The good thing is, we become aware of an imbalance at some crisis point, and do something about it, hopefully. I’ve taken up exercise and a few walks (admittedly, very short), and say “no” to the things I can’t do when I need the time for myself which is not always easy to put into practice. As long as the enjoyment of what you’re doing isn’t stripped away the balance will come. Your life sounds so busy but full of enthusiasm. Great post to sit back and think about. Thanks, Becca.

  5. driving 100 miles one way to play 8 minutes of music….gosh sometimes I am so happy to live in a tiny country :p.

    I had that feeling last year when we were having 2 concerts in May and I was responsible for promotion and ticket sales as well. I love singing in a choir, I love the music, but I was so dead tired constantly that I realised I had to set bounderies.

    So this year the last concert turned out to be 1 week before my wedding and right from the start I’ve told them I am not singing the 2nd concert. In the end I had surgery and missed out on the 1st concert too which I really did regret.

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