One step backwards, two steps forward

String pulled taut and ready to release, I am an arrow notched to a bow, pulling backwards before moving forwards.

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Or this is what I felt like running hills yesterday. Why were they so hard? Why was I slow? Why did 3.2 miles feel like at least 5? I really did run a half-marathon last spring. It just constantly feels like moving backwards.

But if I look at the bigger picture, I really am moving forward. Most of my life I would have laughed if anyone said I’d be a runner, or a cyclist, and especially a swimmer. Apparently I just need to backtrack sometimes to really want it more. As I ran I came up with a plan: get faster on 5k, do some races. Get faster on 10k, do some races, train for second half-marathon in the fall, complete it much faster than first one. Sounds simple, right? Yet in the past I’ve only focused on distance, not speed. 

After a couple of frustrating weeks for my music career, I realized I need to come up with a better career plan and stop hoping to transform my colleagues and work environment. This goes with the “Let it Go” theme of an earlier post, but more importantly, if I don’t move on, I will become bitter and petty. That is not me. I have a lot more integrity and respect for others.

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When I started to articulate a plan involving change, however, little Miss Excuses reared her head. “I can’t move to a place that would be bad for Ballet Boy…I can’t afford to go to national orchestra auditions…I don’t have time to practice at that level.” Can’t can’t can’t. The Brewmaster listened patiently (he is very good at this). But he knows I CAN’T stay in this niche, that it is becoming a very uncomfortable place.

Now my cello bow is also set and ready to fire. Image

In the immediate future I’ve come up with a thematic recital: a study of studies, or etudes. All my life I’ve heard that I am a very musical player. Although I take this as a big compliment, for some reason in the back of mind this implies I am not a technically proficient player, that I hide that behind beautiful sounds and ideas. This recital will be a fun way to show that technique is only useful when it serves a musical function, but also build my own confidence in my own technical proficiency by performing works that showcase hard technical skills.

This morning I went online and looked for cello jobs and orchestra openings. They are few and far between, and nothing with good timing for now, but I vowed to myself that this would become a regular morning habit, just like I plan to have regular Friday weigh-ins and stop avoiding the 8 pounds I’ve put on since November. 

Since I can’t accept mediocrity, I can’t change my situation, it’s time to leave it. Ready, aim, fire!

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