The older I get, the faster the years go…so it makes sense that 2022 flew by in a blink. In comparison with previous years, this was a really, really good one, though it was not without its challenges. My word for the year was PERSEVERE, which I chose with the intention to “just keep going” no matter what curveballs came my way. As has been my practice for the past several years, I didn’t set any big, lofty goals; rather, I wanted to focus on living my word without any extra stress (because my regular daily life brings more than enough of that!).
Back in August, my friend told me that she was going back to school for her PhD in speech-language pathology. I have a lot in common with this friend: we both have two kids (our boys play competitive travel soccer together), busy careers, and full social lives.
So when she shared this news with me, the first words out of my mouth were, “Oh wow, I could never do that.”
I’ve been saying that for years. I went straight to graduate school after finishing undergrad, so the only life I knew was student life. That served me well, and helped me stay focused as I earned my master’s degree in music therapy. My mom went back to school for her doctorate shortly after turning 50, and I was just in awe of her ability to do so. I couldn’t imagine the rigorous schedule and responsibilities of being a student ON TOP OF regular life.
After that conversation with my friend, though, I rethought my words. Why couldn’t I do it? School was my thing; the only B I ever got — like, literally ever — was in a dance class my freshman year of college, and I’m still not over it. (Kidding, kind of.) I love to learn, and I had been feeling the itch for professional growth over the last year or so.
A few days later, I found myself googling “counseling programs” and taking copious notes. Wait, what? Did I want to become a counselor? Apparently, yes I did.
This (several years old) photo is a pretty accurate depiction of how I often feel during the summer: hot, tired, and conquered by my kids. That’s never been more true than this summer in particular.
Their completely packed schedules — tennis, swim team, art class, yoga camp, tutoring — are a product of my own making; in my excitement to resume mostly normal life, I forgot that I should also probably factor in some recovery time.
We’ve been in “go mode” since school ended in May, but professionally, I’ve felt pretty stagnant. And while I’ve only been a parent for 8 years, I’ve been experiencing this summer slump every year since I first started my career in 2007. Maybe it’s because I work mostly with children, and these summer months are typically lighter in terms of my workload, but I still have businesses to run and tasks to be completed.
As is typical for me during the summer, the essential things always get done. And while I usually ride out this slump and get back at it when fall comes knocking, this time around had me feeling restless. I needed…a spark.
I first came across the phrase “zone of genius” in the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks (which I highly recommend reading if you haven’t already). This refers to the work you are inherently skilled at doing, that gets you into flow state, and that consistently yields excellent results.
All this time, I thought I had been firmly planted in my zone of genius, only to find out that much of my career existed in my “zone of excellence”. It’s easy to confuse the two, because the latter can feel like your genius zone. You may be very good at the work, but that is mostly due to a great deal of practice and experience.
My days were split between many different tasks as both a music therapist and business owner. I really enjoyed most of them — facilitating sessions, teaching classes, handling finances, communicating with my team, providing customer service — but none of these took me into flow state. Writing, recording, and creating resources, on the other hand, LIT ME UP.
Last year on this very day, I wrote that I had “mixed emotions about leaving 2019 behind”. Well, I can tell you for certain that my emotions are NOT mixed in the slightest about 2020 ending. It’s been a hard year for everyone, and I know we are all more than ready for 2021.
My word for 2020 was OPTIMIZE. I had high hopes for streamlining all areas of my life, but little did I know when I chose this word that life would be anything but optimal in the months to come.
Wow, what a wild ride the past half year has been! It’s been an interesting several months, and I’m so glad to be back on the blog to share what life as a music therapist has looked like during this time.
Going back to my previous posts, the last one I shared was in February: A Week in the Life of a Music Therapist. Little did I know that the world would soon be flipped upside down with a pandemic. As I’m sure many people have experienced, my typical week does not look much like it did back in February!
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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Next month’s music therapy sessions, early childhood groups, or classroom music…planned for you in advance.
Click the image below for this free resource and song collection!