I just did something I haven't done in five years: I ordered some music.
With New Year's Eve just around the corner, I've been spending some time pondering just what the hell I am doing with my life. For 2007, I established some specific goals -- big ones -- and met them. So, now what?
I mean, fine. I have the kind of apartment I wanted in the neighborhood I like, and I have a good job with the salary I needed. But these are all external, meaningless things. Who am I? Where am I going in life? How am I getting there?
Okay, maybe I'm not ready to answer all those questions in detail, but if right now my response is, "I'm an administrative assistant going nowhere in my '93 Mercury Sable," that's fairly unsatisfactory.
Earlier this month I went to an extraordinary concert of baroque holiday music by the Trinity Consort. It was the finest performance I had heard -- by a longshot -- since leaving New York. It wasn't long before I began to ache with envy for the performers and I thought, "Damnit, I'm not a secretary. I am a musician."
There is a passage in the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas that reads, "If you bring forth what is within you, it will set you free. If you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you." And I am afraid that is true.
So, I'm going to sing again. There, I said it.
Now, wait, just a moment. This is not me re-launching my singing career. Uh-uh. Now that I live in the realm of steady paychecks and benefits, I'm not ready to turn around and go back to poverty and uncertainty and auditions and all that. I don't have time for that kind of dedication. This is merely me deciding that all that time and effort -- literal blood, sweat and tears -- is not going to go to waste while I quietly disappear into my cubicle in Beaverton, with a few fading photographs and wrinkled posters on my walls.
Actually, I have already been singing a little bit. I warm up every now and then and sing through my old repertoire, just for fun. But it's become clear to me that without goals, it's only so much yodeling.
So here's the deal: I've picked a piece to learn (the aria "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein" from JS Bach's St. Matthew Passion) and I'm going to ask the music director at my church if I can sing it at a service either for Lent or Easter.
There. It's in writing. I expect you to hold me to it.