Seven years sounds like quite a while on paper... but in reality, it's so short a time. So short that sometimes I can't believe it's been seven years already!
Seven years ago, I went through a horrible divorce (are there any not horrible ones?) and lost almost every material thing I owned. I rode a bicycle for the better part of a year, saving and recovering from that experience. I still had my flute, and my constant bike riding and the endless support from my friends and family kept me physically and mentally strong through the roughest part of it. But I thought I'd never recover.
This month marks the seven year anniversary. I've reflected on that time, worried that I hadn't learned or changed or done ANYTHING. That besides changing skin and tastebuds, I had remained where I originally stood... that I was stunted.
The outer stuff has changed for sure, but the inner stuff - like has my playing stagnated, or has my professional position changed enough? I haven't pursued a University track position, I haven't released my own album yet. Until very recently, what I had to say wasn't there to speak. It seems as though all of the markers that show me that I'm headed up the right elevator are not in place. I've stayed awake at night, afraid that I've just been hanging out in Life's Lobby, and keep pushing the UP button on the elevator and waiting for the doors to open... am I progressing? How? Where? How is it different from seven years ago?
But as I thought about things, I was shocked at how and where I had changed and how drastically! The list below is just the surface of what has happened in the last seven years. I am a believer in horrible circumstances turning into wonderful metamorphoses.
Seven years ago, I was playing and teaching and doing fine with it. But I couldn't tell you one flute from another, nor who to even call up if you wanted to try one!
I had never played at (or even attended) an NFA Convention.
I was way too much of a goody goody to have spoken my mind and have been fired from a job that didn't suit me (let alone three in a row!).
I had no idea that I had a talent or much of a passion for art, or that I could win an award for a children's book, or that doing art would enhance my flute playing. Seven years ago I would have been too insecure about myself to ever explore very much outside of my flute career.
I never thought that I'd move three times, and live in a farmhouse in a Mexican town in Iowa, or climb the Appalachian mountains the better part of everyday for two years, or return to Austin.
I never dreamed that my students would be as smart, talented, dedicated and wonderful, and how many would be called to be professional musicians themselves.
I wouldn't have thought that I'd pick up martial arts again and that it would fit so beautifully with my flute playing and developing philosophy. Or that I'd discover some of my closest friends there.
Most of all, seven years ago, I never would have believed that I had even an ounce of the self discipline, humor, inner strength and overall ambition to keep going. It has gone so slowly in some regards. But looking back, it's been too quick to measure. Forget the elevator. I reckon that my path is the one up the side of the skyscraper, and someone was kind enough to lend me their rubber suction cups!! The top will come, in my own time.
I share this with the humblest of gratitude and joy. I hope that if anyone is going through something difficult, or that they believe that they haven't changed for the better from it, look again!! You'll be shocked!
Happy Anniversary to me!