I look back on my life and how I grew up and I see it filled with the arts. As a little girl, I remember singing as loud as I could in the shower, throughout my day, and from any stage that I could find (most often at church).
I remember my first long-awaited piano lesson at the age of nine. I was one of those weird kids who flew through my piano books. When I went through a low point in Junior High when I didn't really want to practice, nor cut my manicured long nails, I begged my piano teacher to not drop me as her student when she threatened. I immediately kicked back "into gear" and started to practice piano with a new fervor.
I was in every Junior High and High School show and concert choir. I sang every week as a part of our church's worship band. I took classical voice lessons starting at age 13 and did every state music competition possible.
I remember the joy of getting my driver's license and realizing I could play and sing my music as loud as I wanted within the confines of my private vehicle. Who cares what the drivers around me thought?
Then, I went to college (or university- as they say in Armenia) and started my Bachelor's degree in music. I practiced like crazy and learned all the theory, sang opera, and played Bach, Chopin, Debussy on the piano. I was in a wonderful choir that toured the world: Singapore, Israel, and...Canada!!!
I loved it and I hated it.
I always felt like I was about to crack under the pressure of always having to perform perfectly and constantly being critiqued in front of my fellow students and professors. And, singing opera wasn't really "me." I even added on a second degree in English because I just was so tired of feeling discouraged by music that I felt I needed a degree is something that was easy for me; something I could be successful in.
By the time I finished my Senior Vocal recital, I felt like I was so tired of music that I just needed a break. Besides all the music I was involved in with my job as a piano/ voice teacher, I took a break.
No music in the car.
No music at home.
No singing or playing piano for personal enjoyment.
Then I arrived in Armenia. We've been here seven years, and the Armenians are very talented musicians. They certainly didn't need me to help them do worship or play piano. I've seen people who have never had one piano lesson in their life play circles around me with their jazz riffs. So, I saw what was needed of me and I stepped up.
I became an Organizer; an Administrator. I've organized the Bible College (university) program for ministers. I've organized all the translation projects: children's ministry curriculum, theological textbooks, and now the HUGE project of the Study Bible. I've organized women's events, kids' camps, leadership training events! I even do all of our accounting for the organization. I am now an official organizer who gets a lot done, but at the end of the day, don't feel much joy from it.
So, after listening to some wisdom of others, I've decided to make a life change, or to bring back a part of my old life: the creative side. At my core, I am a creative person, but I am an oddity in the fact that I'm creative and organized. But, I can't let one side of me LIVE at the cost of the other side DYING. If I look back at my life, it was singing and the arts that truly made me happy.
Life Change # 1: Revive the Artist
Step 1: Make time every day to play piano, sing
Step 2: Learn the Guitar
Step 3: Begin to read more English literature and practice writing (hence, the blog)
Step 4: All future jobs/ commitments will have a heavy emphasis on me being involved in the arts. No more "just organizing!"
I've lost a lot over the last seven years. My voice can't do what it used to do. My fingers can't play with the agility they used to. I'm very humbled when I try to strum even one chord on the guitar. But, it's time to claim my life back and live a life of joy and the life I dreamed of.
I still have to be an Administrator for the next year due to my commitments, but I'm making a change that starts today. A change that proves I have a hope for a different future.