Keeping Real

So I’m embarking on the next chapter of my life. Getting focused on being a serious violinist. Which, of course, means I need to get real about money earning. So I’ve got a new job and a new attitude about punctuality and focus. The brass tacks are that the job has to come first, because without money, nothing is possible. Pretending or overlooking that fact leads to nothing but debt, both financial and emotional. And it takes a toll on friendships to always be a charity case.

So the next step in my plan is to make a lot of money, save a lot of money, slowly pay off debts without getting so exuberant that I exhaust my savings and jeopardize my ability to pay off my debts. Because life happens and living at the limit is not sustainable. Essentially, somehow learning to have fun sleeping or sitting quietly in my own skin without spending a dime.

And of course, to practice violin a lot, face my demons, learn patience around delayed gratification. It may be 3 or 5 or 7 years before I attend conservatory, but at least I’ll be solvent. To my friends, my acquaintances and to my creditors. Yes, I’m facing the music that I need to get out of the financial hole that I’ve spent the last 22 years digging.

I was a perfect product of my university education. More about ideals than money. It’s cute when you’re young. Not so attractive when you’re old, fat, unemployed with outdated skills, penniless, maxxed out on the credit card, overdrawn on the bank account, with bad credit, without medical insurance, with every call a creditor including the cell they’re about to cut off, casting about with no life direction, and homeless. Essentially, I need to work to keep work. No money, no credit, no job means no housing, no car to sleep in, no food to care anymore. The next thing to go is your sanity.

And time to get real about looks. They matter. Period. I have a lot of weight to lose. I have to make my appearance a priority if I’m ever going to get a date. Clearly the “if I have children” has passed. With no spouse and no children, there will be no one to take care of me next time I fall. Money will be the only thing I can use to help others or myself. And I’m not young anymore. I need to stop postponing my health and just plan on health maintenance costs.

I’m beginning to realize that dating will need to be something I work at. I need to spend money on cosmetic procedures. To keep employment (and financial solvency), to have any chance at finding a date, and to prevent people from judging that I’ve “let myself go.”

Yes, I’ve got personality, talent too. But it’s never paid the bills or kept me company.

Part of me wonders if I should join a local church group so that I have people who will call and check on me. One that isn’t far away and focused around spending money. I’m grateful for the friends I’ve got, but they’ve got lives. I think I’m finally ready for nosy, pushy friends who call bs when they see me fake a smile or post a joke on FB when I really feel like screaming or crying.

The violin isn’t the solace it used to be. It’s hard work and not at all fun. I can’t play with abandon because I have to fret about bows, fingers, the metronome, the phrase. Vibrato, bow management, I’m so overwhelmed, I’m afraid to pick it up. I have to be like a parent making myself do it.

I don’t know where I was going with this post. I guess mostly that I’ve got 7 years of growing up to do while I work, pay debts, practice, fight my demons, lose weight and learn to parent myself. After I grow up, then I can find a date. A 7 year austerity program. Then I can be the friend I want. Responsible, mature, solvent, able to enjoy quiet evening at home (before I go to work in the morning). Boring, predictable, attractive and a contributor to society. Nothing to be excited about, just how to survive.

John Cougar Mellencamp’s song, “Jack and Diane” echoes through my head.

“Oh yeah, life goes on, long after the thrill of livin’ it’s gone.”

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About Shelly Crouse-Monarez

Violin Performer and Mentor
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