Photo by Josh Geyer
"Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one."
That's me. A true Renaissance woman.
In the beginning, I was a little girl who dreamed of growing up to be a piano teacher. Towards that end, I earned a Master of Music degree - although in this day and age, a doctorate is really essential in order to be considered a "master." I got married, established a home studio, and strived to be the best piano teacher I could be.
A few years later, my then-husband and I started our family. I ran the household and raised children; piano teaching dovetailed with those tasks, as I had hoped they would. To further help make ends meet, I got a part-time job in a sewing machine store; I learned how to sew and I learned the art of sales. I made clothing for myself and my boys; I taught classes in quilting and heirloom sewing and English smocking and sold sweatshirts I painted myself.
In 1994, we moved to Atlanta. Piano teaching fell to the wayside, but I taught my boys how to read and write and do arithmetic; we baked cookies and made nature journals and went on field trips. I wrote articles and spoke to home school groups about the teaching methods I discovered; I even developed an all-day seminar on how to homeschool.
Long story short, my marriage ended in May, 2001. I continued to teach my children while returning to my roots as a piano instructor. Ten years later, I have relinquished my role as home schooling parent but taken on the challenges of jewelry design and fiction writing. My life has become a three legged stool: Asberry School of Music, The Wishing Box, and Author Pam Asberry. Single parent and dog whisperer, friend and sometimes lover.
I expect a lot from myself. I work sixteen-hour days and actually feel guilty when I sleep. The only thing I'm absolutely sure about is the piano teaching; the rest is a time-consuming experiment, a leap of faith. But there's no going back. I'm honing my skills, making personal connections, pushing the limits of possibility. My universe keeps expanding.
Today, though, I felt myself coming apart at the seams. I woke up exhausted, my body ached, and the weight of the world was on my shoulders. My piano students have a festival and performances at area assisted living centers looming in the next couple of weeks; I must continue to improve my photography/marketing skills and add new pieces to my Etsy site; my novel is begging to be finished and revised.
But wait, there's more. My children need me. And I am oh so tired of waking up alone.
Still, I dragged myself to my weekly meeting with my critique partners, my forever friends. I printed my five pages and arrived armed with ideas. The three of us had a lovely breakfast and completely nailed down our first group project. Then there was a tiny disagreement over something absolutely trivial and I completely fell apart.
I cried all the way home.
I'm not sure how to fix this. I don't know how to prioritize when everything is a priority; I don't know how to do the next thing when there are so many things to choose from. My daily schedule would exhaust a machine; I never quite live up to my expectations, but I feel that I have to keep trying.
Oftentimes, I wish I didn't want so much. Sometimes I think I am too smart for my own good; other times I beat myself up for the stupid decisions I have made.
And if I ever knew how to relax, I have completely forgotten.
As my children often remind me, I am beyond middle-aged, as it is highly unlikely I will live to be 102. So what am I doing, trying to reinvent myself at 51?
I'm doing the best that I can, that's what.