Thursday, May 1, 2014

My spring journey

I'm writing today without a purpose or a mere title. Just blogging to see what comes out. What a spring! My first serious relationship, my first full-time-with-an-office job, and the first time since high school that I've seen family more than monthly. As I'm back in my home state, despite the horrific weather we've had, I really feel at home. Sure, Boston is a very fun city and I'd love to be there, but purpose drove me home and purpose continues to form my each and every day.

I've realized tenacity carries into all areas of life, for better or worse. I don't end things, I don't give up. I just try to approach them from different angles. And so far it's worked :) This week has been crazy as we prepare for our spring concert next week with two mini-concerts this week and my interns in finals mode. My dear roommate moved out and my boyfriend studying on steroids. But it's hearing those kids sing that keeps me coming back each and every day. Today was my first day ever missing programming and it was so good to know that it would run without me there. I have an amazing staff and they can do it. We're certainly still learning, but I'm more the problem-solver rather than the implementor at this point. And thanks to our multiple partners, even when the bureaucratic carnival occurs, I have so much support in others.

I did the very notorious ED role of signing appeal letters and licking envelopes today and realized how many people are truly behind this in such a small time and it truly is remarkable. It gave me much more hope about raising our fundraising goal and knowing it WILL be sustained next year and beyond. I remember last year we talked about what if the director got hit by a bus? It is still too young to say it could run without me, but knowing days like today can happen without me, are a start. I'm more there to guide from the back, coaching and nurturing it rather than leading headon. A year ago, I don't think I would have understood this leadership style, but now I do. It empowers others AND requires independence and a strong trust.  I can't say enough about my staff. None of us knew the unexpected turns we'd encounter this spring, and yet still, we have a choir.

I think all relationships whether that be personal or professional are the same-you set expectations, but have to a) check-in to see if these are actually realistic and/or possible, b) have to see if the road has curved down an unexpected detour, or how you can make something that seems like a full-road pothole become a detour or at least a smaller pothole, and c) evaluate what the value of persistence for a particular matter is. If it's not worth it, don't fight it, and if it is DO! To quote American Beauty, so many people live life asleep, going through the motions, but not enjoying life, and yet they do nothing to try to change. Persistence is the key to innovation (knowing the right people and having  501c3 status always help) but really taking that risk was a huge leap of faith, but I did it and you can too! There's a TED talk on vulnerability that says vulnerable people are happier, and as I've realized in myself needier. But that's what it takes.

I was talking to a choir today on the pacific coast who just started a program and we couldn't relate more to each other. It's that connection, that community, that I experienced today that I hope I can provide to these families and their youth. It saddens me greatly when a student has to stop coming because they're moving so close to the end of the school year, or don't have a stable address where a bus can drop them, and yet we keep going. And even if only one value we foster sticks, whether that be our gratefulness, respect, or listening, we made a difference and we're making our mark.

Look out 2014-2015! I'm ready for you! And for the first time in my adult life, in the same city, in the same job, with the same boy. And not at ALL monotonous. Life gives us daily challenges and daily joys. Today was a lick-envelopes-and-eat-ice-cream-and-watch-Netflix day, tomorrow will be my kids singing alongside their band classmates, and the next day hopefully a Friday night filled with friends and laughter. Life ebbs and flows, just like the ocean. And yet we have to cherish every moment because it passes too quickly. We can't keep hoping for change if we're not proactively doing anything to change. As trite as it is, Gandhi really had it right: be the change you wish to see in the world. And that my friends is what I'm trying to do, by breaking down barriers and boundaries both within access to the program as well as between partners. It's time we do this as a whole community: neighborhoods, parents, music schools and teachers, schools, and youth programs ALL included. And if we can build that as a model, then we will truly have collaborated!

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