It was just about a year ago that I "trimmed back" my performance schedule. I use the word "trim" lightly when I consider that I only dropped one ensemble.
This past year has been rough. I started the new job just when the busy season for the job hit. With how my contract is set up, I won't get vacation time until I've been there a year. This means my vacation time will kicks in at the same time as our busy season, so I'm looking at next Fall for when I can probably take a truly long vacation.
I finally let this reality sink in and made the hard decision to truly take a break. That meant dropping both the Jamestown Community Orchestra and The Living Christmas Tree concerts. Besides the needing a break in general there also was the fact that I was going to miss quite a few of the Living Christmas Tree rehearsals due to the musical. Plus, when you're at a rehearsal for one ensemble, that's time when you can't practice for the other ensembles. It was leaving me very few moments to just breath.
I feel extraordinarily guilty. I feel like I'm letting people down, even though another violinist showed up tonight who will be able to take my seat without any difficulty. I think it's the feeling that I'm not living up being able to call myself a musician because I'm not taking every opportunity that comes my way to play. I know that's bullpucky, to steal a Rachel Maddow-ism.
The relief that I'm sure will come is that I will be able to relax a little and concentrate more on the musical. I might be able to finally read the books I have on extended loan from the library. Undoubtedly, I'll probably feel slightly less harried than I have been. I'm looking forward to finding out what that kind of feels like for a little while at least.