I just quit music lessons. I'm quite relieved.
Last year I started taking recorder lessons, and it was fun and I enjoyed practicing. But then my teacher moved away, and I really didn't play all summer. And it costs money; I was taking lessons at FGS's music school, so I got a discount, but still, it was an expense. I got a new teacher this fall, and I like her, but I just wasn't practicing, and I started feeling embarrassed and guilty about paying for lessons if I wasn't even practicing in between.
Seriously, I haven't taken my recorder out of its carrying case and reassembled it since my last lesson in mid-December. Indeed, in the month of December, I only took it out of its case at lessons, never at home.
There's really no reason for quitting to feel like such a big deal; after all, I'm a grown-up, and I get to decide how I want to spend my time and money. It's really more about what the decision represents: That I'm choosing to be a person who doesn't play an instrument. (Not that I couldn't keep playing recorder on my own, but I doubt that I will.)
For most of my life, that statement -- that I'm a person who doesn't play an instrument -- would have fallen squarely into the "Who cares?" camp. But I still have lingering anxiety about having left academia; since I was no longer an Academic Person Who Specializes in X, I decided I needed to become a Well-Rounded Person. And playing an instrument was a part of that.
But I've been thinking a lot -- especially in light of getting a sabbatical! -- about what I do when I have no pressures to do anything. I cross-stitch, I read, I go for walks, I think about teaching. Indeed, on the first day of any break, I have to be careful to curtail my cross-stitching so that I don't hurt myself, a la the pulled neck/shoulder of last summer's first day of break. Knitting is a poor substitute for me, but I've started doing it in the evenings to save myself eye strain.
But notice that what I don't do is play music. And that actually goes for playing other people's music on the stereo. I mostly would rather have quiet than music.
I think music goes into the category of Things I Should Like. Like cooking. Or gardening. I gave both of those a run since becoming a HS teacher, and then put them aside as something it turns out I don't really like to do after all. Clearly different people's Well-Rounded Lives look different, and I don't know why that's so hard for me to wrap my head around. (D. has just helpfully pointed out that, when Geena Davis wanted a well-rounded life, she took up archery, so maybe I could try that next.)
Anyway, I don't know why this seems like such a momentous decision, but I'm feeling quite relieved about it. I already sent the email to make it official, and I deleted all the "recorder lesson" appointments from my calendar, and this is feeling like a good thing to have done on New Year's Eve, so that I can start the year with one less obligation that was feeling like a burden.
Now, I'm off to hunt up some black-eyed peas. I may not like to cook, but New Year's Day requires cooking black-eyed peas. 2017 is going to need all the help it can get.