Spilling Over

21 Apr

spilling overFor a very long time  I carried a feeling of wanting inside me, like I was a hollowed out tree trunk and if I could just fill up that space with proof of my extraordinary accomplishments, I’d be fulfilled. As a young girl, I chose to spend endless hours practicing the piano thinking that my talent and musical endeavors would be enough to fill that void inside of me. I gave concerts, won competitions and went on to major in piano performance at a prestigious music school, only to find that the accolades from the outside world wasn’t enough—the space inside of me still felt cavernous.

Through my twenties, thirties and most of my forties, I couldn’t see that all I had in my life—my happy marriage, my four beautiful children, my successful piano teaching career—were more than enough to fill up that hollow space, but I’d been in the habit of feeling empty for so long that even having it all wasn’t sufficient to fill that void.

Looking back on all the time I wasted feeling dissatisfied and empty, all I can say now is thank goodness for old age. I finally understand that old adage, “Youth is wasted on the young” is absolutely true. It’s unfortunate that we don’t live in reverse as  I’d like to enjoy a youthful body to go along with the wisdom, patience and understanding I have now that I’m middle aged.

I’m wise enough now to realize that the center of my universe is right there within me, and my reality is only what I create in my mind and what I see through my own eyes. What I choose to think and feel is ultimately what will fill up that empty space inside of me—the approval or admiration I get from others means nothing if I don’t believe it myself.

But old habits always die hard and I realize that finding the joy and goodness in the little things in life is always going to be a struggle for me, but at least I realize that all the accolades in the world are meaningless if I don’t first feel them within me.

Yesterday our extended family came over for a barbecue. We did the usual things—ate delicious food, talked, joked around and shrieked with laughter for most of the afternoon. Years ago I would have thought of it as just another stressful family get-together—I would have fretted and worried and been angry  that I had to do all the work. I would have been too resentful to enjoy myself.

But I’m different now. Now I’m able to see that  it was a perfect chance for me to spend time with the people I love most in the world and all during the afternoon I felt my universe expanding with the love they feel for me.

My once hollow tree trunk spilled over with joy and gratitude and I realized that life couldn’t get any better.


Taking a walk with Rene and Isa at dusk on Easter Sunday.

Taking a walk with Rene and Isa after the party.

14 Responses to “Spilling Over”

  1. Becky Green Aaronson April 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

    Simply beautiful, Jessica!

  2. meleinsb April 21, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    We did shriek didn’t we? It was great…YOU are great, have always been great and will always be great! Love you xoxoxo

    • Allegro non tanto April 21, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

      Isn’t it great that we’re both so great together? I’m so lucky to have you in my life. You’re the sister I always wanted.

  3. bonfire0126@yahoo.com April 21, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

    it was indeed a joyous and love filled afternoon!

    Sent from Windows Mail

    • Allegro non tanto April 22, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      I’m so glad you were there. We are so lucky to be neighbors (and friends!)

  4. Wynn-Anne Rossi April 21, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

    Thank you for taking the time to express simple wisdom. I know about the hollow tree, and yes, it is full of wild and beautiful creatures.

    • Allegro non tanto April 22, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

      Just as you are full of wild and beautiful creatures. Just had a student perform “Lilac” and now she’s working on the Sonata in Mixed Meters. Another student is working on “Forest Canopy”. I love your work.

  5. Rossandra White April 21, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    Can I copy and paste this into my blog and say I wrote it? Thanks.

    • Allegro non tanto April 21, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

      Of course. Feel free to take credit for anything I write. As long as I can do the same with you…

  6. Elisabeth Kinsey April 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    I often think that we should grow young. I would love to approach my 20s again and not be a dumbass. 🙂

    • Allegro non tanto April 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

      Oh, you got that right. Back then, I was SUCH a dumbass. A dumbass with a great body.

  7. debatterman April 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

    The beauty of being a woman of a certain age, I think, is seeing youth for what it was, no judgment. There are any number of things I would differently, if I could go back, in a way that would have allowed me to feel more true to myself. So here I am now, thinking that going back is less important than grasping what today is trying to tell me. Who knew back then that Easter and Passover were rites of spring? Religious orientation play its part, for sure, but there’s a much bigger picture I now see . . . .and clearly you do, too.

    • Allegro non tanto April 22, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

      It’s a relief to let it all go and just live, isn’t it? I think that’s what I love most about growing older.

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