I spent the past few days in St. Louis, appearing on Great Day St. Louis (let me know what you think of this TV outfit vs. the others), and speaking at Webster University and Pudd’nHead Books. While I was there, Holland (of the wonderful blog Life Simplified For You) shuttled me around. This made for a long day, and she had plans the next day to do a volunteer project, which became less appealing as the day went on. As she was telling me, it would mean another trip downtown, plus she was already doing something else for this cause later on and… well, she could skip it, right?
But she didn’t, and as she told me in a Facebook message later, it was “awesome.” I’m not surprised. When it comes to putting extra, joyous things in our lives, we often run into this issue. We’re tired. We’re busy. We have perfectly good reasons for not doing whatever it is. But it helps to ask, will I look back and think this was fun? Will I enjoy having this memory? Will I feel more energized afterwards? Then it’s probably worth doing it anyway. You’ll always be tired. So you can be tired and have this great memory or tired and not have this memory, but the tired is a constant, so you can learn to deal with it.
To finally get to the second part of this blog post headline, that’s how I wound up singing back-up last night for the heavy metal band Gods of Fire. They were playing a set for the Major League Dreidel competition over at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. My choir, the Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, had been invited to sing a few Hanukkah carols and to join them.
I had missed the rehearsal because I was in St. Louis. I’d just flown back that afternoon, and had work to do and wanted to hang out more with my kids. It was cold outside. Brooklyn seems a long ways away. But I finally decided that being cold is temporary, I always have more work to do, and I will be spending every single minute from 1pm today to 8am Monday morning with my children.
On the other hand, this 30-something mommy of two is unlikely to get many more chances to sing back-up for a metal band at the Knitting Factory.
So, off I went. And it was pretty fun, both singing (with earplugs on stage!) and watching some of the other acts, like Category Sixx, an “air band.” That is, they pretended to play instruments the whole time, which was a lot more entertaining than you’d think. I made it home by 10pm (and hey, my children still weren’t asleep, so I wound up spending time with them anyway).
As I’ve been learning from reading psychological studies on happiness, human beings are pretty bad at predicting in the moment how they’ll feel in the future, because we’re very influenced by current emotions. If you’re currently tired and cranky, it’s hard to imagine not feeling tired and cranky. So it helps to ask how another person might feel if they did that volunteer project, or sang back-up for the Gods of Fire. They’d probably find it fun. Chances are, you will too.