I have recently joined a recorder ensemble. Every Tuesday at 6:00 pm, we meet in a church and make music together. Our numbers vary from week to week, but in total there are fourteen of us. We’re an eclectic group of different ages and abilities, and our instruments cover the four basic ranges of recorder–soprano, alto, tenor, and bass–making harmonious sounds that bring smiles to our faces. We play music from the Elizabethan times all the way through to the Beatles and Abba. You’d be amazed at how good Eleanor Rigby sounds when it’s played in harmony with twelve recorders.
Making music has always been important in my life. Those who know me, know that I made a career out of teaching it, until I moved out of Canada and was no longer allowed to be gainfully employed. Still, music remained a part of me. Every one of our homes has had a piano, and seldom a day passes when I don’t play something on it.
But with all the moving about that we’ve done over the past several years, my music-making became a very solitary activity. Until I joined the recorder ensemble, I hadn’t realized how much I missed having an active musical life here in Bermuda. There is something inspiring about sharing the musical experience and collectively creating it.
I’m not sure what motivated me to bring along my alto recorder when we moved to Bermuda, as I hadn’t played it for many years. We discarded or stored most of our possessions before relocating, wanting to take as little as possible. I can’t explain it, but something in the universe made me pack my recorder among the things we brought with us.
I am glad I did. It’s helped me to bring music back as a focus in my life, and adds to the joy I derive from playing the piano. I once again have musical friends who understand what it’s like to experience the need to make music. Tuesday evenings have become a highlight of my week.
I am fortunate to be the type of person who tries all kinds of activities. And I am fortunate to live a life where I have the time to try all kinds of things.
But wait, do I? Lately I find that there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me. Of course, I need hours each day to write. It’s my job, after all. But in addition to that, I want to play piano and recorder, paint another watercolour, finish reading my current to-read book, complete that cross-stitch and that knitting project, sort out my thousands of photographs, organize my recipes, chat with friends and family who live far away. Then there are my volunteer responsibilities and exercise and cooking and cleaning and grocery shopping. Oh, and golf and kayaking and diving and hiking and…
I think back to the period in my life when I was a young mother, running a household of five, going to school full-time, then working, driving kids here, there and everywhere, helping with homework and fun activities, making meals from scratch, and still finding time to dabble in hobbies…I was a supermom. How did I have time to do all that, not to mention the energy?!
I know time management is the key and I used to be a master at time management. Not any more. I find that as I’ve gotten older, my energy wains with the setting sun. My ability to focus has gone haywire (is there such a thing as middle-aged A.D.D.?). The day passes and I find myself wondering where the time went. I nod off in the middle of reading a chapter. Do I really have to slow down and do less just because I’m getting older? I don’t want to!
So I’m thinking, if I could just have a few more hours every day, maybe I could accomplish all that I want. Or maybe what I really need is to plug into a super-size battery! What about you? Could you do with a few more hours in a day?
Today I fly to Canada to visit my kids. (Yay!) It will be a short visit, only three nights, so I’m travelling light. I packed last night and was happy to find that everything I need for this four-day weekend fitted into my small carry-on suitcase. Toiletries I didn’t need because I’ll be staying at my daughter’s house and in her bathroom is a little basket with “Mom’s stuff,” so all I put in the suitcase were clothes. Socks, check. Underwear and pyjamas, check. Three shirts, check. Pants, check. Fifteen minutes of organizing and I was all set.
Satisfied with a job well done, I took a cup of tea and my book and parked myself in a chair, ready to spend a quiet couple of hours reading before heading to bed. Suddenly I remembered something I’d forgotten to pack. Chargers!
Do you find these days that when you travel anywhere, you always need to take a Ziploc bag filled with chargers and cords? One for the cell phone. One for the computer. One for the e-reader. One for the iPod. Oh, and let’s not forget the charger for the camera, and the cord to load the photos onto the computer. We are wired for everything from reading to talking to entertaining ourselves, and it would be a sad day for me if something ran out of power and I was unable to charge it.
I hate to admit it, but I’ve grown dependent on my electronic gadgets. It would probably be good for me to just visit my kids and not take any them with me. Bring a print book instead of the iPad. Leave the laptop at home. Heck, even leave the cell phone at home.
Yup. It might be a good idea. Maybe the next trip…