After what felt like both a long thought-out decision and a split-second one at the same time, I decided to leave my job at UCSD. After five years as a student and six more as an employee, I’ve had such a wonderful time there but realized it was time to move on. The scary part is I left without a concrete next step in place which is something I’ve never done before. I know I’m meant to be doing something related to music and I’m excited to have the time and energy to dive in completely and figure that out. The tentative plan is to take the summer to clear my head, give being a full time musician a try, and plan for the next step. The next step may include spending a few months in Brazil later this year followed by pursuing a master’s degree when I return. With final paychecks and vacation day payouts, I think I have enough income and health insurance to last me through August. After that… “it’s a mystery!” (Shakespeare in Love).
Some of the goals and themes for my summer include improving as a musician, finding more private students, getting more gigs, decompressing from wrapping up six years of a job, getting in shape, researching graduate programs, studying for the GRE, making plans for Brazil, making art, making money, and saving money. Oh yes and enjoying summer in San Diego!
Yesterday began my first work week without an office to head to. So what have I done so far in my new life aside from going three days without wearing a bra? I’ve gone for a walk or yoga every morning followed by actually making breakfast and writing my “Artist’s Way” morning pages. I made the steel cut kind of oatmeal that takes way too long to cook when your normal routine is toast in the car on the way to the office. I’ve done a fair amount of pacing around the house deciding what to do next. I have four different rehearsals and a gig this week before I head out of town to a music camp. I also made thirteen different to-do lists. Not thirteen “to-dos” but thirteen lists in different categories. One of them is called “grad school research” for gathering all of the various steps required in looking at programs and applying to schools. Another one is called “annoying administrative” for tasks I’ve been putting off like going to the DMV. Another one is called “self-care” and includes all of the things I’d like to make time for including yoga, lap swimming, writing, and making summer cocktails down at the pool.
The lists are helpful to organize my thoughts and not spend all of my unstructured time playing “Draw Something” on my phone. But I know I need to give myself some slack and not be too demanding of myself, especially in the beginning. I need to take some time to relax and enjoy this beautiful free time I suddenly have. I do thrive on being busy and having a full schedule, but I’d hate to leave one busy life just to jump into another busy one. The space in between where I can be present with my thoughts I think will be the most important during this time.
The verdict so far right up front? I don’t regret my decision and I feel fairly calm about this new chapter of life. But the calm is interrupted by bursts of joy, overwhelm, excitement, loneliness, and confusion. All in just three days! I’m expecting a roller coaster but looking forward to the ride and looking forward to holding on to those empty spaces. I’m grateful to my family and friends and roommates for their support without which I wouldn’t be doing any of this. And I’ll keep you posted on what unfolds.