Recalibrate and Reset

Last week I started my second year of official full-time teaching. After a fun and restful summer, I was excited to get back into the swing of things and especially to see my returning students as well as meet 160+ new students I would be teaching this year.

I started off teaching this song called “Unlimited,” an absolutely fantastic back to school song. The first verse goes like this:

First day back
Here we go, here we go
I’ve got this new backpack
And this little part of me that wants to know
What am I gonna be?
What am I gonna do?
And will I fit inside this puzzle I’m about to walk into?
Am I gonna be alright?
Can I take a deep breath instead of only listening to the hundred million questions in my head?
First day back
Here we go… here we go…

Aside from literally talking about the first day back (to school, specifically), I thought about how appropriate it is for the month of September for everyone. When the hazy summer days start to drift away and instead comes the crisp autumn air and cool breezes, I feel like I, and many others I know, reset. It’s also an anxious time of starting anew with school, work, family – as marked by the changing season and environment.

With only four months left in the year it’s a great time to recalibrate one’s priorities and reconsider our usage of time. We often complain that we do not have enough time to do all that we want, but let’s take a moment to figure out how we can make time for everything we want to do. (Let’s not forget that time is human-made, malleable and only a marker of the day.) It’s a time to put a halt to all doubts getting in the way of success. It’s a season of “let’s do this” and committing to whatever “this” is. It’s a final push to accomplish anything that will satisfy the questions “Did I do my best this year?” and “Did I make the most of everything on my pathway to achieve?” It’s a chance to concentrate that inner drive and channel it into all that you do for yourself and for others, without any limitations. I taught my kids that being unlimited means that you can do ANYTHING.

I’m reaching up through the top of the sky today
I’m changing things till I finally find my place
Wanna go and get it
I’m gonna be unlimited
Turn up the sun let me see what it’s all about
Light up the stas till they dream away all the doubt
We’re just beginning
I’m gonna be unlimited

My kids will, too. Will you?


The OFFICIAL Finding to Focus

For a long time, I have wanted to start an “official” blog. I have always loved writing and I’m not sure what I necessarily mean by “official” other than the fact that it is a public commitment to writing that I’m making. Something about the word official makes things sound… important. Capitalize the word official and you get OFFICIAL. Now. It’s. Real.

So rather than talk about what I’ll be writing, I’ll just start.

I’m happy right now. I am. (Cue “Happy” by Pharrell!) But this is quite the loaded statement I’m making, because what does it really mean to be happy? I won’t get into that right now, but I’ll tell you this much. If you asked me right now if I am 100% happy right now, my response would be no.

For the past few months, my full-time job has been going great, my social life is not too shabby, and I have amazing friends and a great relationship to keep me running and even skipping along. But I kept wondering what exactly it was that I was missing in my life… and it drove me insane. I finally broke through months of looking by honing in on what I love. I love to play piano. A simple five word sentence that, suddenly, I no longer had an “official” commitment with. While I play piano when I teach and I play piano to demonstrate passages in private lessons and I play covers here and there, suddenly I was no longer taking lessons. Except, it wasn’t actually so sudden since I didn’t take piano lessons after May of last year. Why did it (supposedly) suddenly hit me that I loved to play piano?

“Life came in the way” is my lame excuse. But really, I had just taken my official commitment to piano playing for granted while I was in school. Upon earning my Master’s degree I had completely entered the real world with responsibilities and did not commit to making time for my one true passion in life.

Piano is my one true passion in life. I KNOW IT. In all the different things I do in my day, there is nothing that makes my heart beat and my internal clock tick in any form even CLOSE to when I play. And I mean really play. Really play the challenging (classical) repertoire that makes my brain spin and think the way it does when I try to figure out how to connect one note to another in the score. There is nothing that makes my soul more gluttonously satisfied, even though the satisfaction is insatiable, than interpreting and creating music that the composing giants have written for me hundreds of years ago. YES, they wrote the music for me is what I tell myself. It’s for ME to play, perform, and share with the world.

This past week was the first time I had taken a piano lesson in what had seemed to be forever, and it genuinely renewed my energy and re-commitment to practicing and playing. I have a long way to go, but we all do.

So why am I telling you this story about my recommitment to piano playing? I’m still not 100% happy, but my many months apart from my craft just allowed me to better understand what I knew all along – and that understanding alone makes me have a higher happiness % than I did before.

I always tell everyone to find what it is that they love to do, and do it. It’s not simple and it never will be. But I truly believe that deep down there is something inside every person that makes him or her tick. Find what it is that you crave, what it is that makes your heart literally feel that tingle that is so unique to YOU. Find it. And then focus on it. It matters and I’m going to capitalize it because it’s important. IT MATTERS.