And here, we are. One Year Later. When thinking about what this week’s post should be about, I was initially opposed to adding what will surely be an avalanche of “reflections upon this past year” posts. I figured it would be like the typical onslaught of Top Ten Lists that arrive the last week of each year.
But then I realized how much I have been getting out of reading other people’s reflections that I’ve seen this week. It’s natural and human to want to peer into someone else’s life for a brief moment, but it’s also nice to see a) how we’re all different, and we’ve all had incredibly different experiences this year, and b) each one that I have read has made me pause and think for a moment.
So, indulge me, my dear readers, as I ponder what this past year has meant for me. I’ve made no secret of the privilege that I have experienced over the last 12 months. Not having young kids to take care of/school/reassure 24/7, nor having college-aged kids that to worry about. My 77-year-old mother was in strict lockdown at her CCRC, which went to extreme measures to keep their residents ….well…alive, and my brother and his family are 10 minutes away from her, so I never had to worry that she was alone or unable to get what she needed.
Living on a small island that managed to keep numbers EXTREMELY low, being able to go to restaurants, and have a fairly normal social life for most of the year because of the natural bubble an island creates. Having a spouse with a secure job, so that we were never forced into financial crisis mode. The list goes on.
But, like everyone else, I lost the majority of my income when concert halls shut down, and I had to reinvent how I worked, how I taught, and how I made an income. I haven’t hugged or even seen most of my closest friends or any of my family, I’ve lost relatives without the ability to properly say good-bye to them, and I have spent the last year at home, like everyone else, getting to know myself on a much deeper level.
And I probably learned more about myself this year, then in the previous 20 years combined. Here are my top 5.
Like ignore everyone who thought it was a weird idea, and bring my Virtual Summer Cello Festival into existence, for instance. Or reinvent a career mid-concert season, or take my income from $0 to multiple 6-figures in a matter of months. I can take something I know nothing about and figure it out. I can read up on it, try, fail, try it another way, and eventually succeed. It is both terrifying and exhilarating to create something new, and it is always worth it in the end.
And part of this knowledge that I can do hard things comes with the acknowledgement that doing said “hard things” with the support of a like-minded community makes your success virtually fool-proof (no put intended).
As I said at the “graduation ceremony” for the group coaching program that I was a part of: I had the ideas, and I did all of the work, but I’m not entirely sure I would have done any of it without my amazing coach and the rest of them– from cheering on my wins to helping me work through obstacles. Experience guidance and community support is key.
Nothing makes you appreciate a person like having to spend 24/7 with them for months on end and not wanting to kill him. Don’t get me wrong, when he walked out the door to teach in-person on the first day of school in September, my alone time and I did a little happy dance, but by the end of the day, I missed him again (or, I missed someone coming in to refill my coffee mug–either way). We had our moments, for sure, but I think we came out of it knowing a little bit more about what we each need in order to feel supported, loved and taken care of.
This is the year that I realized that the fact that I wasn’t much of a social child, and spent most of my time between the ages of 5-15 alone in my room had less to do with the fact that I was a latch key kid with a stream of disinterested babysitters, and a family that didn’t really talk much, and more to do with the fact that I’m just wired that way.
Hanging out in large groups of people is fun, but draining for me, and if I have to do it more than once or twice in a weekend, I’m EXHAUSTED for days. Spending time with 1 or 2 close friends feeds my soul and invigorates me, and the thing that really gets me going is a long stretch of time by myself. Time to think, putter in my garden, jot new ideas down, contemplate my life as I fold laundry. I came to realize that, in fact, I had the ideal childhood for who I am. And also, those long hours spent alone with my thoughts as a kid was great preparation for a global pandemic. Who knew?
It just makes you more of who you are. As our finances have changed, my tastes have not. It’s just that I can afford the things I always admired. More importantly, I can support things that have always mattered to me in a more direct way. Instead of supporting organizations, alma maters, friend’s initiatives, etc. by sharing their social media posts, I can also write them a check and know that I’m helping in a more direct way. It’s true what they say. Money isn’t good or bad. It’s people who are either good or bad.
Also, that whole question about whether it can buy happiness? Well, I have been broke as broke and deep in debt, and I can assure you, I am much happier with money than without.
This year has brought the biggest changes to my status quo (mine and everyone else’s) For my personal career, and for my industry as a whole, and I found a way to adapt. I formed a company, launched an international festival, created a new standard of teaching, and have helped dozens of other professional musicians successfully launch programs and projects of their own.
People keep asking me what I’m going to do “when things go back to normal”, and I smile. We have no idea what will happen. I think online learning is here to stay–probably with new enhancements–in person retreats and get-togethers? But it doesn’t matter. I have learned that if I watch what is happening around me, and listen to what people are saying, and think quietly by myself, I’ll come up with new ideas, new tweaks, and that I will continue to adapt and offer what people want and need as the world changes.
Having done it once, twice, three times in this past year, I’m fairly confident that I can do it myself AND help my clients to do it as well.
One of my big “shout from the rooftops” theories is that as individuals, we are the ones who have the flexibility, speed and agility to make changes happen in a way that even the most well-intentioned organizations cannot due to their size, bulk, and the sheer number of decision-makers and departments that need to be involved.
And what about you? What are the biggest lessons you have learned this year? I’d love to hear them, and I know they’ll give me something new to think about.
Have a great week!
The Spring Session of my 10-week group coaching program, The Profit Pivot, is starting up in April! (woohoo!) Want to know more about how to launch a summer program, festival, concert series? Book a (free) 30-minute ‘Discovery’ call with me to talk about you, your goals, and your ideas today! The Early Bird Deadline is coming up on March 26th, and it likely will fill by then (spots are limited) so book that call today!
In the meantime, join my Tales From The Lane Facebook Community for bonus material, live discussions, and tons of free content and insider info.