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 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?