The newspaper NRC printed a line that stayed with me yesterday, on Christmas Day: "If 2020 manifested itself in window-visits, balcony-serenades, and other happy activities that were possible even with distancing, and digital methodes of being together were still new, the end of 2021 distinguished itself for many with a feeling of despondency and fatigue."
The mental cost of the lockdown is wearing us down. At the end of last year, I was busy making my remake of 'Agitata da due venti' with the tekst '2020 was a disaster.' A fun way of keeping myself busy and musically active, I continued composing and playing and singing with other Eve de La productions, and when society finally opened again, I flung myself into my "normal" conducting and singing activity. It actually felt quite literal, that flinging bit. I bit my teeth into every project coming my way. The flinging took its toll. While it was splendid to be able to come together again and to finally make music after 1 1/2 years of shut down, I felt overwhelmed. My mental state had been so battered by the lockdowns, and had likewise felt such elation and adrenaline at the opening, that the extremes were harder to manage than I had expected.
Now it's Christmas and likewise a seemingly inevitable lockdown. It's a time for downscaling again. Whereas before I would have been thankful for a break after such a (wonderful) rollercoaster of a full concert season, the break is now filled with a certain emptiness. There are many many exciting plans on the horizon, but the uncertainty of if they will be able to happen due to the inability to rely on the preparation time is mentally taxing. All of the rescheduling, endless administration work demanding flexibility, the conflicts that arise therefore take their toll. And I am just one musician. Everybody is dealing with this. Perhaps only those already enjoying their pensions are exempt. The downside is that they have to deal with the real fear of landing in the hospital with an infection. But, when the OMT/RIVM calculates the costs of lockdowns and other restrictions, they seem to never take the mental cost into consideration.
But let me focus on the good parts of the last half year. Due to the fact that I have become more familiar with video editing with my Premiere Pro account, and due to the bizarre coincidence of seeing a choir member who has sung in my final exam years ago, I was able to retrieve and fix the the audio/sync problems from the source material (which until then had been lost!). Being able to look back on this gigantic project that I had managed to put together, le Sacre du Printemps, Symphony of Psalms, and Singet dem Herrn, which had previously only been in my memory, was just wonderful to review. It gave me the courage to say to myself, "Hebe, you're not so bad after all." It gave me a bit of confidence back. It also made me realize that I can and should be doing bigger things. I can and should step up to the plate and shrug off the corona fatigue. I should take on those large professional projects again, because I have the ability, I have the talent.
The children keep me going. The picture above is from the Christmas walk that we took yesterday. The children remind me that time is not be wasted, and yet that time is also to be used to be together. To read a book series together, snuggle with the cats, decorate the house, search out recipes and cook together, and of course, to make music together.