Sometimes, I just don’t want to leave the comfort of my apartment. Of course, that’s why I created this blog in the first place – to force myself out into the world I really do love so much. This morning, I awoke next to an amazing person and enjoyed breakfast and a ride to my gig at Carnegie Hall. I met with friends, sang with a world-class orchestra, and listened as they performed Notre Dame by Franz Schmidt, an incredible and rarely done opera.
Afterwards, having dinner with a friend with whom I sang and another friend who came to the performance, I remembered what it felt like to eat and enjoy company for hours without really ever needing the time to end. Yay. Then shopping for groceries with a friend? Still actually a lot of fun. Finally, while on the subway coming home, I met Paul and Eric, a lovely couple who live in my neighborhood, and we talked about local news channels, cantoring, donating televisions, and our lives.
Why did I not want to leave the apartment today? Between watching my boyfriend’s Aikido test yesterday and all the events of today, I enjoyed a very charmed weekend. I suspect I sometimes hesitate to actively live because I’ve done a lot of “shoulding” myself in life. Saying that I have to go to work or that I need to leave for my gig makes me forget or even dread the important parts. I LOVE MY JOB! Furthermore, I love my life. I want to everything I did today, and most days of my life. I like to sing and act, and I choose to enjoy friends who try new things and value living in the moment with me.
Some things require more effort, and I admittedly will have a harder time removing the musts, shoulds, have tos, need tos, am supposed tos, and ought tos from my vocabulary on my next task: taxes. For a little inspiration, Marshall B. Rosenberg provides a story in his book, Nonviolent Communication.
I recall, however, from my childhood how differently my father and grandfather felt about paying taxes. They had immigrated to the United States from Russia and were desirous of supporting a government they believed was protecting people in a way that the czar had not. Imagining the many people whose welfare was being served by their tax money, they felt earnest pleasure as they sent their checks to the U.S . government.
I feel grateful that so many without jobs can receive extended unemployment benefits right now. My taxes support student loan programs, some healthcare, education, some of the arts, and so many other great initiatives. Granted, I may not agree with or even know all of the ways in which the government spends my tax dollars. I certainly didn’t study accounting and usually prefer people to numbers, so crunching them doesn’t usually excite me as much.
That said, I want to change the way I think, live, and speak, in the most positive way I currently know how. Whether I sing, act, prepare taxes, hang out with friends, exercise, work, or just live, I want to do it well and as joyfully as I can. So perhaps tomorrow I may not wake up wanting to work on my taxes, but instead of “shoulding” myself, I will choose to take on our annual national ritual of filing taxes, with the beautiful music of Notre Dame still ringing in my ears.