Friday, May 14, 2010

All play and no work...

Well I can now cross accordion lessons off my list.

Take accordion lessons.

That felt good! Of course, yesterday's lesson was only the first lesson in what I hope will blossom into a long and glorious tutelage under the fine instructor at my local accordion shop. I can now proudly declare (and plan to do so on a regular basis for at least the next seven days) that I am capable of playing "Row, row, row your boat" on the accordion in the key of C Major. Sweet!

Seriously, this is awesome. One day, I hope to be able to play this. But for now, it's still this...

In other news, my life is not all roses and sunshine, despite all the roses honeysuckles and sunshine spilling forth from the streets of the Big City. I'm concerned about and working to improve the balance in my life between career productivity, relaxation and personal/emotional development. I think I spend farrrrr too much time in the middle category of relaxation, to the point where perhaps I'm not doing enough reflecting and wasting a lot of time that I could be growing and maturing.

At my last day of my internship on Wednesday, my boss sat me down and told me she wanted to have a "frank" talk with me about some things before I moved on. She'd got word that an application I'd submitted for a scholarship a while back was missing several items and generally sloppily put-together. (I'm sure this is true, since I threw it together at the last possible minute.) We talked for a bit about how my work is really good in the office, but that I can sometimes send out hasty communications and procrastinate in other areas to the point where it reflects poorly on my capabilities. This was only slightly embarassing to hear; mostly I was happy that she took the time to be straight with me and not just give me fluffy feedback. There's no greater skill in a mentor than the ability to give useful and valid criticism in a gentle and caring manner.

Sometimes I feel like I've drifted too far off course. Before we came to Big City, before I enrolled in law school, there were things that I sensed were missing from my life. A sense of direction. A meaningful career. Certain experiences that are just missing from small southern towns. Our decision to move to Big City and to have me pursue this education has paid off in spades, and not just in the ways I anticipated. T found that he can thrive in a career working for an employer (i.e. not self-employed), that there are some benefits to an office full of colleagues. He loves being able to provide for his family (i.e. me and Elvis and our future). I'm reaping the benefits of attending a diverse school, living in an old immigrant neighborhood, walking everywhere, reacquainting myself with people my age after a relatively solitary period in my life. We've developed closer relationships with T's brother, perhaps the most rewarding surprise to come from the whole experience. In so many ways, it's been awesome.

And then there are the things we gave up. Some of them we knew we'd be leaving behind. It was two hours south to see T's parents, two hours north to see mine. Any time we wanted to get away, we could hop in the car and be back in old familiar territory in time for a homecooked meal (or, you know, pizza from Ledo's). Rent was cheaper. Almost all of our friends were closer and a visit was never hard to arrange. T had a truly fulfilling business that, if not always thriving, was always challenging and rewarding. We knew we were giving some of that up. It was a hard decision to make, our decision to forego my attending law school in the same place we'd been living and maintain the status quo. We didn't know anything for certain, but we were pretty sure that we'd be glad we'd taken the risk.

I am glad. T is glad. But there are so many things I couldn't have anticipated. Things that are just a part of change, I guess. Like how many more days we spend hanging out at bars, rather than sitting on porches. It was boring to feel confined to a porch sometimes; but it's also boring to feel confined to a bar stool. Life is busier... there are fewer days where we sit around looking at each other and wondering what to do with our afternoons. We are tired from working so much, so we nap a lot. We have friends and acquaintances to catch up with, lots of invitations to meet up (at bars), so we stay up too late, spending money and drinking. We can get almost anywhere we need to be on foot, so we rarely find ourselves on car rides singing along to the radio. When school is in session, I have studying to do pretty much round the clock, so I spent lots of time shutting out distractions so I can read, or procrastinating on the internet. T has to entertain himself so he works late, or works in his home office, or goes out with friends. Life sometimes feels like a flurry of activity and then I start to miss the slow pace of Virginia. We used to love to grocery shop. (Okay...I did. But I also loved dragging T with me to do it.) Now it's a chore I can barely squeeze in, and we walk the two blocks to pick up little things here and there instead of making it a whole excursion.

I just feel run down and I miss the little world we had in the smaller city. It all felt more mangeable, more healthy. We're just changing, evolving, I know. I know that's normal. But in some ways I think I want to redirect the course of that change a little. Get back a little of the cozier lifestyle where we had to work for our fun, instead of buying it for $2 a can on just about any corner in the city. KWIM?