I mentioned on social media this week that I’ve been in a little bit of a funk lately.
Besides being sick, I wasn’t prepared for the blow to my bank account at tax time this year, and that whole ordeal along with my birthday looming sent me down my old spiral of negativity.
I’m turning 31 this Monday, and instead of thinking about celebrating, I was thinking about all of the milestones I haven’t hit.
I’m not a homeowner.
I’m not a mom.
I’m not a college professor.
This April also marks my 4th year out of my doctoral program, and it also is the beginning of the “I’m happy to announce” season.
You know what I’m talking about..
“Now that it’s official, I’m so happy to announce I’ve accepted a position at ______ University/Symphony/Military Band!”
Every time I’d see the “I’m happy to announce” post on Facebook, I would get 1) jealous and 2) really down on myself.
Not that I wouldn’t be happy for that other person, but I’d always feel like I wasn’t good enough. My CV wasn’t impressive enough. I didn’t have enough experience (that one still confounds me).
I am a dud and no one wants me.
Which, of course, is BS.
Because I’m awesome.
And you’re awesome too.
A few weeks ago, I posted on Instagram that FOUR HUNDRED people graduated with doctorates in music in 2018.
Do you think there are enough positions to employ all 400 of those graduates? Or the hundreds the year before that. Or what about the people that graduated with me in 2015?
That’s a HARD no.
If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that I am more than capable of teaching at a university, and I have a lot to offer college students.
But the market is WAY over saturated, and I can’t do anything about that.
What I can do is plan the projects that bring me joy (hello, Musicians’ Wellness Day).
What I can do is provide the very best musical education that I can to my private and public school students.
What I can do is support my students, my friends, and my colleagues in their musical endeavors.
What I can do is NOT wait for a college job to start living my life.
I still think it would be nice to teach at a university, but there are SO MANY ways to use my degree and experience and skills to be impactful - it just requires me to believe in myself and to think like an entrepreneur.
And I lost sight of that earlier this week because old habits die hard, but when I came back to my morning routine on Wednesday, thankfully, my mindset started to shift to the bright side again.
So here are some of the things I DO have as I approach my 31st birthday:
Money left in my bank account after paying taxes.
THE most loving, supportive husband.
A beautiful apartment with access to two pools, walking trails, car wash/vacuuming station, and a community garden. And if the A/C goes out, we don’t have to fix it!
The most fantastic support system in my friends and family.
Now, friends, please hear me. If you’re reading this and were just about to post your own “I’m happy to announce” announcement, do it!! You earned it, and we need to know about it!
But if you’re one of those people that’s been on the job hunt for years, or you’re about to finish your graduate degree and are uncertain of what’s next, take heart when you see those announcements.
There’s a place for all of us, but that place may not look the way we thought it would.
Stay open to possibilities. Do the things you love and stop doing the things you hate for the sake of a CV, and take care of yourself.
With peace & compassion,