My Year in Review

My Year in Review

Do you ever try writing one of these in your journal and come to realize you’ve forgotten what even happened in your life the first six months of the year? I swear my life is not as eventful in general but it seems even less than that when I can’t think of one good thing that’s happened in each month the first half of the year. Maybe I should go back to keeping a journal, because the idea of going into my Facebook memories sounds really scary.

Let me try going backwards, starting with the most recent exciting things.

December! I made it on national television! A bunch of my friends and I from the Chorus of Westerly made an appearance in the finale episode of The Great Food Truck Race: Holiday Edition. We were invited to singing carols for the elimination segment of the finale episode that was taped in Newport. We taped that episode back in March and had to sign confidentiality agreements that we wouldn’t disclose any information about the show and contestants until the day the episode aired. I thought it would be so difficult for me to keep a secret about who won but I managed to not spew it to anyone! I could tell people I was going to be on tv, but that was it. The one thing I was bummed about was that they didn’t put any credits in the episode about who our ensemble was. We’re not just a bunch of randos off the street. Oh well. Maybe next time…

November! My son Aiden joined me in the Chorus and our classical concert in November was his first concert to perform with us. I’m especially proud to say that because usually the first year singers don’t participate in the classical concert, instead they start with Christmas Pops in the next month. Aiden was excellent at learning and practically memorizing the music at rehearsals that our conductor allowed him to try out for inclusion in this concert. And he got in. Guess what piece we performed? HANDEL’S MESSIAH. Of all the times I’ve performed selections of the Messiah, this was the concert in which we performed the most movements in the last decade of performing this piece. So this was a lot of work for both kids and adult singers. It was our first concert together and I had to try so hard to keep from bawling my eyes out every time I looked over to see Aiden proudly singing to two full houses. It was such an amazing experience for him to be on risers with over 150 people and to perform with an orchestra. I never did any of that at his age. I’m so honored to be able to give him this experience.

August! Near the end of the month I was hired part time at a bakery in Providence. Everyone I tell this to I always quickly follow-up with ‘I’m just the dishwasher, not so exciting!’ but then people stop me and say, “I don’t care, that’s still really exciting!” They’re blinded by the donuts. I actually love it there. The job is a job, and I handle it the best I can. The awesome part of it is who I get to work with. My coworkers in the back of house are current culinary school students and some a few years post-grad. Their brains are fresh and open-minded to new ideas and willing to take risks, which are good characteristics to have in a business. The peeps in the front-of-house are awesome people who I love so dearly. The big boss lady is the owner of the store and after three years of moves and expansions, she’s still working there day after day. I’ll admit, I’m a bit star struck because I think it’s such an inspiration to see a female start and keep a successful business and I’ll sometimes stand and watch her cut and drop donuts into the fryer like I’m watching a Food Network show. Speaking of shows, being around my coworkers makes me feel like I’m living in a Food Network reality show. There’s never a dull day in the Back of House. I love it. I also have so much love for the Front of House peeps.

Gigs! Paid! I can call myself a real musician now! Whenever I got random and temporary volunteer solo gigs in the past, they were a direct result of a friend/colleague who suggested me for the position and I happened to have my schedule free. In the last few years, that same action has led to getting paid for the gigs, mostly with church appearances during the holidays. Over the Summer I had a chance to branch outside of my usual classical/religious repertoire to sing backup for a blues band. That was really fun, and motivated me to explore more genres as a vocalist. I think this is one of those industries where it pays to specialize in a variety of things within your line of work if you want to keep going.

School! In July I started taking classes again. My grand plan is still to end up working in the nonprofit arts, but I’m keeping my options open to how I’m getting there. As a second start, I’m taking classes at the local community college and seeing if I could jump into an undergrad program at an in-state school or work my way into a Master’s program in Arts Administration. It just depends on what the local schools offer and if the Master’s program could be something I could do online. I really enjoyed this Intro to Jazz online class in July, and then for Fall semester I took an Intro to Business class at the school which I also really enjoyed. I took the Business class as a start to what an Arts Administration program might consist of, but I enjoyed learning about business a little too much, that it made me afraid to think I could have a future in business instead. But then again I also go to my job at the bakery and still love the idea of making pastries for a living. Sometimes I like having options and then sometimes I don’t like that I can’t focus on one thing! It’s the beauty of life but also the challenge of life!! This is where I’m perplexed about my future.

In the Spring! For the Chorus of Westerly’s grand 60th season we performed Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana in various locations (I like to call it “a tour”) in November 2018, but in May we performed selections from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Brahms’ Nanië conducted by our current director and we also performed Handel’s Te Deum conducted by our founding director. That was my first time performing all three works so that’s a nice addition to my repertoire, and was good practice on my German pronunciations. That was a special concert.

I can’t remember anything worthy of mentioning in April.

March was when we taped the Food Network show. That was a fun mini road trip on a Sunday with my Chorus friends.

January and February I can’t remember anything either! Those were months filled with family birthdays. They were also really cold months so I stayed indoors as much as possible. Oh, I remember setting a goal to read at least one book a month. I finished 3 only books this year- You Are a Badass… by Jen Sincero, Bossypants by Tina Fey, and Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I’ll keep this goal again for next year. So let’s just say I hibernated these first months.

So in summary, 2019 was a big improvement compared to the last few years. I spent 2016-2018 filled with lots of doubt and anxiety about what I should do with myself now that I no longer have a baby to take care of. I let that anxiety control my thinking and prevented me from taking action like getting a job or continuing school. I let life drag me by the hair but this year I dragged life! I made the rules and I did what I wanted because I was confident that I was capable of doing things. I’m thankful that I have two really awesome guys to support me and be excited about things I do, because it’s they who helped me regain my confidence to go for it. Now I’m happy doing things I love and also helping to pay the bills. Because it’s called adulting and I kind of really need to do it if I want nice things.

Here’s to more awesome things in 2020 worth mentioning to complete strangers on the internet. I can feel you guys out there cheering me on. I appreciate your support. I’m here for you too! Go get ’em!

Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

Published by Erma Basila

Are you going to eat that?

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