I’m in Day 2 of my sabbatical/ retirement-preview and truth be told, it’s pretty glorious. It’s not time off of work, it’s just transferring the work to different levels. Ironically, my main project is writing a book or two about music and music education and the precise thing needed to succeed is a musical thing—a rhythmic groove that sustains energy and moves things forward. Time in music is not measured by minutes and hours, but by tempo and groove and rhythmic variations. I’ve often thought that when I’m teaching abroad, I theoretically have time on long plane rides and in hotel rooms to write, but other than these blogs, never do. Why? Because though the time in minutes and hours is there, the focus of working on one project that builds upon itself is not. I’ve known this and resisted it, but at least for me, it could not be more clear. The only way to churn out a book is to seatbelt myself in at home and get in the groove. That’s how I wrote my other eight books and that’s the only way I’ll write my next eight.
So after my morning routines, I’m at my desk from somewhere around 9 to 1, with little breaks to play a bit of piano or check an e-mail. Lunch and then at least an hour of piano and then off on my bike with an errand or not—just to get out and moving and exercising and re-connecting with my home town.
And so in each of these three areas— writing rhythm, piano chops, getting-in-shape exercises—I’m feeling the benefits of continuity and flow and routine and practice. And thinking, “Hmm. I could get spoiled here. All of it more calm and energizing and pleasurable in some ways than the intense schedule at school, plus meetings and such. Maybe the Golden Years are just around the corner.”
But of course, the Golden Years are right here and right now and have been for a long time. Whether at school with kids and giving a workshop to adults or writing about the work with kids and adults or practicing music to bring to the kids and adults, it’s all just different facets of the same golden nugget. And there isn’t a day that goes by without me feeling profoundly grateful that everything fell into place for me the way it has.
Meanwhile, note that this excitement about the life-giving rhythmic groove of my new schedule has come from just TWO DAYS! That’s how powerful it can be.
Okay, off to write the next paragraph.