Jumping Out of My Comfort Zone - 01/24/13
I began 2013 with a brisk plunge into Barton Springs. It wasn't planned, just a last minute invitation from very close friends. I barreled down MoPac to make it in time for us to jump in together. It was symbolic of my only resolution for the New Year: to take a now or never attitude when it comes to new adventures. I plan to pry myself out of my comfort zone and pursue my passions and explore inviting paths.
Let's face it; once you hit 50, your life is more than half over. So why wait to start your bucket list? Life is too short to steer clear of things you might end up loving simply because they sound slightly scary. Taking on new challenges and endeavors makes you feel alive and boosts your self-esteem. Eleanor Roosevelt said," We gain strength, courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the facewe must do that which we think we cannot."
When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a professional singer. Throughout my school years, I sang solos in choirs and performed at a handful of weddings in my twenties. I was never great, but pretty good. I ended up singing at my college best friend's wedding shortly after I started working in television news. I didn't realize in my attempt to lower my speaking voice to sound more "professional" on the air, I ruined my singing voice. When I tried to hit the high notes at a crucial point in a song, my voice creaked and croaked and I sounded like I swallowed a frog. It was one of those, I wish I could hide, moments in front of a large crowd of people. After that, I rarely sang solo in public. My singing was in the shower or Christmas caroling or chiming in with a group doing karaoke. But, I'm now attempting to find that confidence and courage by warming up my pipes again and giving it a go.
In my mother's final years of life, battling the mind robbing impact of Alzheimer's, she found her greatest joy in music. Despite the heartbreaking loss of many of her memories, she never forgot the lyrics to songs. She had an uncanny ability to belt out the alto part in perfect pitch to any song she'd ever heard. It was really amazing and it was a talent I never witnessed as a child because she always let my Dad try to shine in the church choir. When singers or musicians of any sort would visit her Alzheimer's home, her face lit up and she would be the first resident to plop down on the couch to hear the performance. In the final weeks of her life, I invited various friends who I knew were good singers, to come visit her room and sing with us. She was singing You are My Sunshine the same day she died. It was the song we most often sang together. Music gave her comfort, it calmed her and it was the one part of her memory that was totally intact.
A few months ago, someone at a party mentioned she volunteered singing at low income nursing homes. I immediately knew THIS would be my next, out of my comfort zone, pursuit. What a wonderful way to pay tribute to my sweet mom! So, I arranged to meet with the singer/keyboardist to "audition" to be one of his soloists. He has a great set up with a keyboard and two microphones and plays all the great oldies and harmonizes with you. I gathered up my courage and met him at his house for my "try out".
Guess what? The first song he asked me to sing for him was You Are My Sunshine. I immediately found my comfort zone. I wonder if somehow, some way, my mom had a hand? She was always my biggest fan. I'm not nearly as nervous about my upcoming first gig, now. After all, I have a little heIp from above. Plus, think I've found the perfect audience for my singing. They are hard of hearing and won't remember if I miss a note!