I am on a plane again, this time headed out on a four-day trip to Burbank, California, for an artist training summit with my clarinet reed maker, D’Addario Woodwinds. I have had a lot of anxiety about this trip, as I do every trip that I take- even though I love to travel. To add to that, this experience will be different from any I have had before; I received emails detailing the training with words like devices, spreadsheets, apps, inventory…enough to send my technologically challenged inner child running away at top speed to dive under the covers (Oh, and the word ‘people’…as a major introvert, being around a large group of people I don’t know sends me into a tail spin, and I dread the interactions before I even meet anyone). On top of that, there is my usual ritual of worry, packing and re-packing, making sure that everything concerning the animals and house is perfect (yeah, I know…) before I leave. As if somehow my very strong, intelligent, and competent husband couldn’t handle the day-to-day chores of our home. No, I don’t think it is really that; perhaps it is my desire to want to be needed in the process, to be able to show my love through my work in helping to care for Chez Gainey and all its inhabitants. My frustrated maternal instinct, perhaps?
While I know intellectually that my worrying and obsessing about leaving Dan, the animals, our home, and my students, is silly, it all seems so real and overwhelming at the time. I taught all of my clarinet students earlier in the week (except for the two that my wonderful graduate assistant will teach), getting there at the crack of dawn and working late each day to make sure all was in order. Dan got a good report on his recent shoulder replacement surgery on Tuesday- everything is healing well, thankfully. While he is still in a sling and very limited in what he can do with his right arm, he has figured out how to shower, dress, and drive with just his left arm, and feels confident that and the animals will be just fine during my absence. I need to let go of my worry and trust that all will be fine. Easier said than done, in reality.
Here’s the final piece of the puzzle for me, I think; For all of my outward bravado and Poppins cheerfulness, I am deathly afraid of change, of what is new and different. It rocks my very foundation. That doesn’t mean that I don’t put myself out there and do my best to try new things and learn and grow from them year after year. However, my first inclination is always to pull inward, to be home with my family in what is known and safe. I have to force myself to jump out of the plane and just try. Dan did his best to remind me of all the positives this training will bring professionally and personally- I can always count on him to help me find the sunshine when I am in a dark place. He also made me laugh by singing the Beverly Hillbillies theme song, as I’m heading in that general vicinity. I love that man.
And so, as I set out on this trip full of new and different experiences, I am going to do my utmost best to choose adventure over fear. It takes everything I have, but the rewards are absolutely priceless.