Can you believe we have been in a global pandemic for one year already? My family decided to predict "Coming Out of COVID" dates for when things would be back to normal, and so far, none of us will be correct.
It has definitely be an interesting year, but in some really great ways. It's been a year of re-prioritizing, heightened creativity, learning new skills, and figuring out what is really important to us. This year has also shown us that family is a priority, and one that can sometimes get lost in the "busy" schedules of our lives.
It's been a year of loss too. Losing a sense of comfortability, normalcy, and in some ways, livelihoods. Some even lost loved ones, which is the worst of all. The news became harder and harder to watch, and I found myself having days where I didn't want to do anything because I was so entranced by everything going on. It definitely takes a toll on your mental health, especially while you are trying to do everything in your power to take care of your physical health at the same time. Living in a pandemic is a lot for everyone, no matter your situation.
While I know there are tons of musicians back to regular gigging in town, it's just not something I am ready for at the moment, especially as I just entered the third trimester on this pregnancy shindig. I'm really ok with it, though. More time to focus on creating, producing, and steering my music career in a direction I have been waiting for/putting off because I've been "busy."
I've learned that there are two kinds of busy: 1) Busy doing the things you have to do, and 2) Busy doing the things you want to do.
If we are going to live a truly balanced life, we need to fill our days with both things we have to do and the things that fill our soul. Otherwise, busy becomes a place of resentment and blame. "I didn't sit down and write today because I was too busy with work," or "I didn't finish my work project on time because I wanted to spend more time on my creative projects," or "My family feels neglected because I have been spending a lot of time at work," etc.
This year has taught me balance and intentionality. I'm a lover of productivity hacks, and I finally feel like I have designed my days so that I have real balance. When I am grading student work, I also do a load of laundry, regardless of how big or small it is. Mondays are dedicated to cover video filming. On Wednesdays, I edit. I teach private lessons in the afternoons and evenings. Thursday mornings I vacuum and mop. Cool right? Work is always done at 3:30 and if I don't have lessons, the time is dedicated to church or to whatever family thing we decide to do.
It would be so easy working from home to have my computer in my lap as I watch TV, but that would make me feel terrible about myself. Instead, I work in my studio where when things get slow, I can create. I'll work on a mix. I'll research ways to promote my music. I'll take care of NSAI tasks. It's official: I have finally learned to use my time wisely. That took 33 years, by the way.
Don't get my wrong, I am so ready for COVID to hit the road. I miss restaurants, seeing people's faces, gathering at coffee shops, and singing around large groups of people. (I know there are many who are doing all of these things now, and that's fine, I'm just not there yet, which is also fine).
But if I am being honest, I'm grateful to have experienced a global pandemic. Joni Mitchell was so right: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone?"
My hope is that we continue 2021 living with just that; HOPE. Hope that we can find our new normal. Hope that we can start fresh from pre-pandemic and decide how we want to live our lives going forward. Hope that we can kiss COVID goodbye so that it doesn't do any more destruction. Hope that we can all acknowledge the things that are keeping us divided and put them aside to find things that unite us instead.
But you know what I am 100% sure of after one year?
The art that has been and will be created this year will be in abundance. Our performing and fine arts are going to explode with inspiration and are going to surely to move us, and I am SO excited about that. Hopefully I can be a part of it, too. :)
All of this to say, I'm grateful for the experience of living through these crazy times. I feel like my creative life finally has direction, and I don't know that I would have figured any of it out by now if COVID never happened. So thanks, COVID, for one good thing.