Cancelled. Cancelled. Postponed. Cancelled. Last week was like that too. Tomorrow too. Next month, who knows? Welcome to Covid-19.
Like all my fellow musicians and countless others, my calendar is now basically blank. It would actually be blank except for the cross-outs and scribbles on what used to be all of my gig dates. Do they still make Wite Out? Maybe I should've used a pencil, or a Google calendar.
In any case, I'm left with the same questions we're all facing. What now? What next?
I'm working that out. But I'm also grateful and lucky that my wife's teaching job will, at least for now, help us avoid the immediate financial disaster many are enduring. This gives me a chance to get my head out the weeds and ask other questions as I reflect on my newly changed life.
What have I been doing? Why? Does it matter?
I left my teaching job less than a year ago because I knew it wasn't where I was supposed to be anymore. As everybody except me headed back to class this past September, I was full of energy and ready to dig in on the several projects I thought would contribute to society while fulfilling my soul. I worked on those things. But I also took on a bunch of other smaller things. They took time too. A lot more of it than I thought.
And as the world slows down to a crawl over corona virus, and my schedule of tasks, projects and music gigs goes away, I notice that some of the things I was most eager to tackle are the ones still undone. Some remain totally unaddressed.
Why is this? What have I been doing? Did it matter?
Sometimes the most important projects are complex and time consuming. It might seem easy to just knock out a few of the smaller, less important things, creating time and mental space to devote to the important, bigger things. So we do that. But then comes the next day, presenting the same situation. Same goes for the next day and all the days after that. Suddenly, those complex, important projects are essentially shelved. That's what happened to me.
So I quit my teaching to job to have more time to work on meaningful projects, then I filled up that time with other things that prevented me from working on those projects. Brilliant. Well done.
The other things weren't bad or useless, they just weren't as important as the bigger things I really wanted to address.
But corona virus is giving me a do-over. Not really a do-over, but a do-better. With my calendar reset to near zero, I have another chance to decide how to allocate my time. What things are worthy of it? What do I really want to do and why?
I'm a musician. I'm going to create and perform music because I can't not do it. I'm going to do it as well as I can to satisfy my being and to bring joy, happiness and art to others. Corona virus is not going to stop that whether I have gigs on the calendar or not.
I'm also a writer. I write to share the experience of being human and to explore what that means. But I've allowed writing to become hampered by a clutter of things I don't need. The corona virus quarantine is helping me to see that and to change it.
I'm a sustainable living advocate. I want to help transform society into something reflective of the fact that we are inextricably woven into the natural world and must live in harmony with it. But that desire has been sometimes bottled up behind the cork of unnecessary tasks in my life. The corona virus quarantine is helping me to change that too.
What am I doing? Why? Does it matter?
We can all ask ourselves these things. Even if corona virus hasn't nuked your normal schedule, you can take a few minutes to check in with yourself. Ask if you're spending your time the way you really want to. Is what's on your calendar nourishing? Or helpful in reaching your goals? Are those goals the right ones? Cancelled and postponed are words the corona virus has forced on us a lot lately. Let's make sure we're not inadvertently applying those terms to ourselves as well.