So it has been 10 years since I took a break from any type of playing music at all. In 2008/2009 my family transitioned into moving to a new area in the state. A brave move that we did to move to an area where we didn’t know any people and our family was 3 hours away.
I remember the transition well. Every single weekend, we loaded up the kids and headed back to our hometown to be with family and friends. We did this every weekend for 3-4 months. Many people thought we were crazy, but we didn’t think so. We needed a social aspect in our lives and we were not getting it where we lived. It was hard to connect in a small town. We were the outsiders. After that transition time then we only went home once every couple of weeks, then once a month. Eventually, it became only for Thanksgiving and Christmas and if we had the energy and the fish were not biting, then over spring break as well.
During this new and adventurous move of ours, I put down my trumpets and focused more on work and building a career. I did manage to play once during our time in that tiny little town on the north Oregon Coast, but that was all. I didn’t have the passion to pick them up and practice any longer.
Days past, weeks past, months past. After 7 wonderful years, we were moved in a new direction across the state to Eastern Oregon. Far different culture and climate than that of the Oregon Coast. My principal just said to me about a month ago, “How brave you and your family must have been to move all the way over here and not know anyone or have any family.” That is true. It did take some guts. We were right back where we were when we moved to the coast in 2009, isolation. Social isolation. Luckily this time we did not have the luxury to head home each weekend. Mostly because our home was not back in the Willamette Valley, it was on the Oregon Coast which was 7 hours away. Not an easy drive just for a weekend.
This caused us to do something that we had never had to do, force ourselves out to meet people and form roots. This happened quite quickly for us and before you knew it we had many gatherings over to our home and have great friends here, friendships that will stand the test of time.
The purpose of this post is not to outline how these moves have allowed us to grow, but to point out that in school leadership you must take a very important look at self-care. Being forced to get out and meet people to help form roots was not for a lack of boredom, it was for our self-care. Just like music was for me in the past. I was never going to be a well known professional musician playing in large orchestras. Even though it was something that I would have loved to do, it just was not what I was put here on this Earth for.
After really taking an interest in self-care to help reduce the stress that my job brings on, I figured out that there are just a few things that I have that are so important to me for this self-care.
First is my family. They are everything to me. I cannot ever get enough time with them. I miss the ones that are still on the other side of the state but we do get to see them quite often.
Second is archery. You ever see a stressed out person shooting a bow? Of course not. It is so relaxing being outside and among nature. Whether it is competition archery or bow hunting, both are relaxing.
The third is playing the trumpet. This just recently came back to me. My son has decided to play the trumpet and with that, we have been exploring this together. When we first sat down together it hit me like a ton of bricks “Man I really miss this!” I missed practicing etudes, technical skills, scales, all the boring stuff that students hate to play, I missed it. Now I am doing it again, and daily I might add.
Finally is riding my road bike. I have gone through seasons of my life where I could not hit the pavement enough. While this is not the case any longer I still do try to get some rides in from time to time.
I encourage you to find what helps with your self-care in your leadership position. We all need time to recharge and rejuvenate our souls to help the ones we serve.