Saturday, August 27, 2016

                              ALL ABOUT BARS

     This morning, as I ponder what I will do in my academic life this fall, I realize that the decisions have something to do with the almighty “bar.” Bottom line, I’ve raised it too high, and that’s why I’m struggling to make some decisions. Have you raised your bar too high? Why do we do that to ourselves? Sometimes raising the bar too high will lead us to the bar, and that’s not really the answer, although it sure can be a temporary solution to many things. Unfortunately, that bar brings with it side effects that, for some, may become incurable. As I haven’t had a drop of alcohol for six months, I wouldn’t know, but a buttery glass of Chardonnay might take the edge off right about now. (Thank you, PBC).

      What am I talking about? It’s time to sign up for classes. I know that’s sounds weird that a “senior” of my class would need classes, but I love to learn, so I am addicted to returning to school. If I can’t teach it, I take it.

     The choices at our local Lifelong Learning facilities are many. I’m considering “The History of Comedy,” “Meditation for Meatheads,” and “Scams, Scoundrels and Scalawags.” I figure these should provide numerous hours of feckless blogging, and at the very least, I will be laughing.

     But back to the bar. Every time I perform, I raise the bar. I have now performed two one-woman shows. These performances have truly been two of the highlights of my academic life. They have allowed me to spend countless hours researching the composer I play as well as the times in which he lived. I love researching. If I could get paid for that, I would start a new career. The research process gave me months of purpose, and then creating the script from my findings offered me the joy of creating a story that would engage my audience and, hopefully, teach them as well as entertain them. Finally, the actual practicing of the compositions I chose, gave me the satisfaction of starting from zero and learning a composer’s work knowing his story. The entire almost one-year process of each of these shows made 2016 one of my best years ever. Now, I have raised the bar. I have added new challenges as I prepare the third and possibly final program, this time the life of George Gershwin as told by his lover of ten years, Kay Swift. I want to add humor, jazz as well as classical selections and I must find a venue in a new state and community where I have no contacts. Piece of cake, right? So, why am I doing this, and why must I raise the bar? I could just repeat one of the other two programs, and make my life simple. Nope. Not me. I always raise the bar. If it’s good; it can be better. If it’s excellent; it can be outstanding. It’s my last hurrah, folks, so why not swing from the highest trapeze?

     When you accomplish something, do you raise the bar the next time? If so, why do you do that? Is it the process or the result that motivates you? It doesn’t have to be an on-stage performance. It could be the next dinner party. How could that table be more attractive? How could the dessert be more colorful? If it’s the golf game, how could you get those two putts down to one putt per hole?

     I have learned that, for me, it’s not the performance that motivates me; it’s the process. If you hate the process, then to me, that means you’ve spent an inordinate amount of time being miserable for a very short period of joy. If you’ve loved the process along the way, then a successful result is a bonus. What project are you working on now? Is there a bar you could raise that would increase the fun you have working on it? If all of this is too heavy, just go to the bar and forget about it.