For the better of the last decade, I've been trying to balance work, fitness, keeping my skills sharp and learning new pieces from favorite composers to stay challenged. To say it's been a monumental effort is an understatement. After deciding to get my yoga instructor certification 8 years ago and teach classes here in Chicago, it only intensified the effort I had to put into fitting all 3 of my key life activities equally into my daily schedule.
During the majority of the 6 years I taught yoga on top of work and piano, I will fully admit piano fell to the back burner. I still prioritized getting in playing time, but it didn't quite feel very fulfilling; rather exhausting. I was only getting in maybe 1-2 days a week of playing. At the tail end of that 6 year period, I finally took some time to really think about what was most important after realizing I wasn't going to be able to do all 3 to my full capacity - something would always take the hit. I had recently connected with a group of musicians in Chicago and was envious that they spent most of their free time every day with music, their instruments, their craft. I had to admit, despite playing piano since age 7, I never considered myself a 'musician.' I think it was because I always had to somehow squeeze piano into a very busy schedule - and I had to play (life feels empty without it). I decided to quit my yoga gig and shift my full focus outside of work to playing. In addition, I was craving creating my own sound and songs - something I hadn't done since I was 9 and preparing for recitals and school talent shows. I took the plunge and found my way back into composing.
I will say that even without the pressures of being an instructor, preparing class sequences, curating playlists (the best part); I still find that I have to make a concerted effort into dividing my time between work, life demands, and playing. Composing is a world of its own that I completely adore, but it requires even more of my concentration, focus, creative energy, energy in general, and mental peace/stillness that I ever required learning pieces and simply practicing. I found that my best creative time is in the early morning (pre-work) with a big cup of coffee - this is coming from someone who is notoriously known for *not* being a morning person, but here I am. It's a much easier reason to wake up early and know that I'm going to create, build, and perfect creations. I've started learning and developing other habits that have helped me maintain a balance along the way - not saying *yes* to every social invite (hard but necessary), working on at least 1 composition a day, and capitalizing on my weekend time.
So the whole point of my rant and rambling thoughts for this post is really about the discovery of how easy it is to be disciplined, divide your time, pour your energy into something, and make small sacrifices (mine being teaching) when it comes to developing your passion and dream.
I've had this desire to be a musician that has music of her own to share with the world since I was a little girl. I'm finally making that happen. It just took a little self reflection, courage, and listing to my intuition.
Take care out there,