September feels like a new beginning to me - I suppose because I'm still a schoolgirl at heart. September buzzed with the excitement of new classes and books, seeing all my friends everyday, projects and parties and programs. But this year, there is no school bell in my future, nary a one. Neither student, nor teacher, not even that ubiquitous "staff member" appelation I wore for the past 15 years in my capacity as music department accompanist. So I've been searching for ways to get a bit of that September enthusiasm into my regular work place and my home life. Last week I cleaned out my desk at the office, re-arranged my overheard compartment, and hauled my recycle box to the storage room to await the shredder.
At home, I made a trip to Office Max and picked up new file folders, then emptied out a desk drawer where I can now store all my home office paperwork in one place, rather than the fragmented assortment of bins and baskets where it's now located.
Now all I need are some inspirational posters, post-it notes in bright colors, and stickers that shout "You Can Do It!" and "Hang in There!" or "You're Tops!"
In short, I've been keeping really busy so that I don't think too much about this big change in my life, this absence of music and school and interacting with young people. Because while I won't miss the hectic schedule, or the last minute programs at holiday time, or the winter festivals that always occur during prime time traveling season, I will miss working with musicians, and helping kids realize their musical dreams, and being around the energy that radiates from talented teenagers.
Yep, I'll miss those kids a lot. A few weeks ago I set up a Facebook account, and rarely a day goes by that I don't receive a "friend request" from a former student, even from as far back as 1993 - this one a young mother who is sending her daughter off to kindergarten tomorrow!
And I'm a little worried about my musical skills, because I know myself pretty well, and I won't be working at the keyboard unless there's something specific to prepare for. Technique goes pretty quickly (like muscle tone!) when you stop practicing and performing.
But mostly I'll miss the sense of working to accomplish something important that I always feel when I'm musically active. My music jobs are never about making money - they're always about challenging myself to become better at my craft while accomplishing something that makes other people happy or more fulfilled.
Actually, I suppose that's the way I feel about every job I have. I've always been fortunate in that I could work at jobs which were personally rewarding to me. I like to be challenged, to master new skills and interact with people I respect and from whom I can learn. And that's probably why I always loved school so much, because it offered the opportunity to become better every year, to expand my mind and my social life and all my horizons.
So perhaps I should start looking for some new ways to engage the brain matter, musically or otherwise.