Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Retirement, Restructuring, and Return

There are times in our lives when our desires and needs do not harmonize, no matter how much time we spend trying.  In fact, it may be a mistake to suppose that they would.  Sometimes we believe we can organize our lives to the degree that everything works together like a well-oiled machine, but life doesn't seem to have gotten that memo.

I walked away from performing flamenco almost three years ago.  It became clear at that time that in order to provide for my family (including home ownership), I had to focus my time and energy on developing a career that provided steady income.  I returned to school and obtained an MA in Communication.  All the while, I'd been working a good, steady job at a social services agency.

As I rode the high of my new accomplishments, I received some unexpected news.  My department was undergoing "restructuring" and my position would be discontinued.  Suddenly, the security of what I'd been pursuing for several years seemed to have hit a big roadblock.

One of the only things I could think of to generate a little income in the meantime was, you guessed it, flamenco gigging.  With the help of a dear friend and fellow dancer, I have been back in the thick of performing for a few weeks now.  It proved to be a case of the proverbial "getting back on a bicycle."  Things went fairly smoothly my first performance back.  I attribute this to my never having ceased dancing around in my living room when the urge came on.

My take away from these experiences has been this: we are not what we do at any given time.  I never ceased to be a flamenco even as I removed that distinction from all my social media and professional profiles.  These identifiers serve merely to communicate with whatever audience happens to be in front of us at the time.  As life (and the job market) is uncertain, I cannot be sure how long I will be interacting with this current audience, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts. 

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