Then and Now

Happy New Year!

I’ve been so busy lately that I didn’t realize that this particular New Year marked the start of a new decade. A decade sounds like a long time, and I suppose it kind of is? But life is strange, the longer we go on, the shorter spans of time feel in proportion to when we were young.

I remember feeling like the school year went on FOREVER when I was in kindergarten, and it makes sense that it felt that way. After all, it was nine months of my life when I had only been around for a little over five years. There wasn’t a whole lot to reflect on back then, I was busy after all, learning how to read and play the piano and not have temper tantrums. That’s a lot for a tiny human to take in!

Now it seems like a year is nothing, something that barely blips on my radar. Not that nothing happens or that the year doesn’t matter, but that it seems like time goes by like that overzealous pickup truck in the left lane, just passing by and getting through things without noticing them.

Photo by Saffu on Unsplash

But when I saw others reflecting on the decade as a whole and started to do the same, I realized that cumulatively, there was a whole lot to the past ten years. In the wise words of Inigo Montoya,

“Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

The Princess Bride
In short, from January 1st, 2019 – December 31st, 2019, I (in no particular order whatsoever):

  • Got married
  • Left a longtime job and started my own piano service company
  • Adopted the most fabulously quirky cat
  • Bought a house & moved from our home of over a decade
  • Finally saw the Buffalo Bills make the playoffs again
  • Became a mom
  • Joined Twitter, through which I met my awesome SQUAD Sarah & Mindi (true story!)
  • Bought my very first car, which my husband still drives
  • Witnessed in person some of the best moments of Brandon Roy’s too-short career
  • Dusted off my personal essay writing skills from college and experimented with book blogging and podcasting
  • Paid off my student loans

If I could think of one word that ties all of those disparate milestones together, it would be “confidence.”

2010 me couldn’t have imagined all of these things, maybe a few of them but not all of them, because I didn’t have the confidence to believe it was all possible. It’s taken a long time for me to be comfortable with myself, and it’s been quite the process. I suffered from major imposter syndrome and was therefore deeply unsure of myself on pretty much every level — Was I actually a good piano technician who could be successful out there in the big bad world on my own? Or was I just hanging onto my job at a piano store by the skin of my teeth because I also happened to be useful on the admin side of things? Would I ever have the discipline to financially recover from the credit mistakes of my early twenties? Did lack friends because I was busy and it’s hard to make friends as an adult, or because I was inherently unlikeable? Making a mistake filled me with dread and anxiety. The self-doubt went on and on and it made me deeply unhappy.

c. 2012, I was really embarrassed when this happened, but now I think it’s funny and have a cool scar to tell a story about.

But with experience and time, and let’s be honest, some major fake it till you make it moments, I’ve found myself at the beginning of a new decade with a business that has grown every year and provides me with the most amazing work/life flexibility — I spend quality time with my family, with my friends, on my hobbies, all while maintaining my love for piano work.

It’s been said that true confidence comes from within, but it also comes from taking those small steps to do what makes you happy without regard for what other people might think. Talking about books and publishing gossip is epically nerdy, but it’s my kind of nerdy and I found an amazing book club who loves it too. Some people think sports are silly, but I love watching the incredible feats of athleticism that come from trying to move a ball ten yards, so who cares?

I’ve been around a lot of toxic people in my life and now I make sure to surround myself with the right people, the type who support me and celebrate my successes with me and laugh with me, and commiserate with me and help me understand that a mistake is an opportunity to grow, not a reason to despair. I am so fortunate to have found those people in my life, and I count my clients who allow me the privilege of coming into their homes and working on their pianos among them.

I’m an expert now! I think!

I am more fulfilled as a human being, a happier person, and a better piano technician on all levels because of the confidence I have gained over the past ten years. If you haven’t already, I hope you all manage to find that same confidence for yourselves. Cheers to 2020.

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