Usher in Positivity

The holidays are over. The wave of craziness came and went without a hitch. Exhaustion levels were at a high this year, but happiness and enjoyment stood firmly beside it. So much family. So many friends. So many gatherings to celebrate! The year has come to a close and life is picking up where it left off about two weeks ago. My lists continue to grow. Here I sit at 6am with my secret cup of coffee, writing to you. All is as it should be in the McNally household.

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My survival mechanism.

As I scan through social media, I cannot help but be overwhelmed by the number of status updates and tweets that are anything but graciously ushering out the year 2014. It seems as if people had a hell of a year and can’t wait to move on. Don’t get me wrong; I see the positive lists online as well- the friends and family that have thanked the previous year for all its gifts. These posts are what so clearly highlight a contrast between one and the next. The thing is… these people seem to do this every year- After New Years, without fail, you will find lists of things that were unfavorable from the prior year- things that people are happy to watch disappear behind them, as if the turn of the calendar year will somehow wipe the slate clean and all the gunk will just wash away. Out with the old and in with the new. People ecstatically welcome the new year into the old one’s place as if it’s insurance that “this year will be different”.

Here’s where we falter. Not to sound cliché, but things really do happen for a reason. It may not always be clear what that reason is, which is why you must be active in figuring it out… sometimes being active means simply being patient and waiting it out. So, even when things happen in life that are hard- even awful and tragic- do not usher them out the door to be forgotten. Do not dwell on them as hindrances to where you can go from here. Examine and learn from them, count the blessings you do have and move forward. The turn of the calendar is a good metaphor for moving on with a clear path. Moving on with a positive outlook is a good; I do not discount that. Setting resolutions and goals are great, even if they only last a little while. The key is that if they don’t hold up they way you wanted them to, not to look at that like a failure; if you do that, they don’t serve their purpose to usher in change and positive anticipation.

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Last year I had a great year. I made a career switch that changed my life. Music truly became the center of my career for the first time. I started a business that is successful, hitting all of my enrollment goals earlier than expected. I became an operational board member of Chanson Voice & Music Academy and piloted a choral program at the school; I was active in receiving its first grant, enabling the program to expand in 2015. More to come on that! Stay tuned! Changes happened in my family life last year that are all for the better, which as I look back, I see needed to unfold in this way to get us all to the happier, healthier place that we are at today; a clear example of not knowing how something bad can become good, having faith and patience- waiting it out. I made serious health changes, dealt with the trauma of asthma as an opera singer, and came out on the other side more healthy than when the year started; you can’t ask for better than that.

The year 2013 had ended with awful auditions of which nothing came from, pushing me to get a new voice teacher early last year; he offered me a “gig”. This set in motion a string of events that led me to take part in four shows last year which each changed my life as a performer (how lucky is that???). These shows each introduced me to people that changed my life. They brought forth opportunities for the new year; More to come as 2015 progresses. I am amidst an unveiling of another new project that will change my life forever- something I have dreamt about for a long time, and I finally get to see into reality. Once again… cliff hanger, check back in for details!!! I will be updating you all within the next couple of weeks.

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Words of wisdom from mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato.

I ended 2014 busy and exhausted from working solely on things I love. I was able to connect with people, new and old. It was a good year. I cannot wait for all that 2015 holds in store- not because I can’t wait to see 2014 disappear in the distance, but because the years all link together. What I dreamt up in 2014 now gets to be fleshed out further in the new year. I get to see it all become more of a reality.

Take this advice- clean your own slate, if that’s what needs to be done. Clean up messes and make room for new ones. Learn from things you didn’t love about last year and march forward. Set goals.

Oh… and make lists.

Happy New Year, everyone!

 

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