Sometimes you can talk about something repeatedly, tirelessly, endlessly–but it really doesn’t really hit home.  Until the exclamation point gets put on those endless sentences…

This weekend, the separation of past and future became real.  As I looked on, my Facebook feed filled with people talking about hockey tryouts.  It was time for the choir end of year awards ceremony–where a new award was being rolled out in honor of Micah.  Hockey and choir–two worlds that I am no longer involved in (except for the Cactus Cup for hockey).

No one forced me out of those worlds.  I chose my exit ramps, for the most part.  To paraphrase Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, I found that the pressure was exceeding the pleasure.  Being in the choir room just brought up too many memories–too much pain–and I needed to try and give myself a break from it.  Being around the rink was not getting easier, but harder.  Without having my kid on the ice, my enthusiasm was slipping, and my emotions were harder and harder to control.  It was time to go.  A group of parents and hockey administrators made that even easier, as their continued entitlement, continued insistence that everything be handed to them, provided for them because they somehow were owed it because their kids are all superstars, or because they play at “elite” organizations, or because–well–because.  That’s not to say that all hockey parents and administrators are like that.  They’re not.  But there is certainly a large, if shallow, pool of folks that feel like their money, their power, their privilege entitles them to not lift a finger to help, but simply to demand whatever they think they deserve.

What about scorekeeping?  Jury is still out on that one.  I’ll probably still do some, now and then…but only in very specific situations.

One small step into the future this weekend–I auditioned for a musical for the first time in 28 years.  The thing about auditions though, like job interviews, is that there are no (or very few) sure things.  I think I did decently at the audition, but that does not mean the director and creative team watching the audition feel I’m a fit for their show.  I’ll find out in the next couple days, but I definitely feel like I have things to work on before my next auditions.  Yes–regardless of how this particular audition goes, I plan to try others.

While I plot and plan my future auditions and wait for the start of the 2017-18 AHL season, I feel the emptiness that the departure from those worlds has left behind.  There is no work to be done to get equipment ordered for the upcoming season.  There is no planning for the final concert or the end and then beginning of the school year.  No tryouts to attend, no preseason planning, no rules to edit or rewrite–just quiet.  A weekly movie has replaced a weekly meeting.  Planning for our upcoming move has replaced planning for a new season.  Thinking about buying a new tablet/laptop has replaced thinking about buying hockey gear or paying for a choir trip.  Weekend trips to Chicago for Cubs games and a very special reunion have replaced hockey tournament trips.  I just have to get to the next trip…the next purchase…the move…

It’s the space in between that leaves me vexed.  It’s not knowing the outcome of that first audition in decades.  It’s the awkward feeling of cutting things off cold turkey and putting myself on the outside looking in–even if I’m not sure whether I want to be looking in or not.  It’s either controlling my emotions when I see things that trigger memories–reminders of what I’m not doing and why, ignoring a lot of posts so I can avoid seeing those triggers, or ignoring Facebook all together for a while.  All difficult choices.

Maybe I’ll spend more time baking…haven’t made cookies in a while.  I’ll get more creative cooking dinner for the family–tonight was my first attempt at stir-fry (watch out YC’S Mongolian Grill, DL’s Mongolian Grill was tastier–even just working from scratch without a recipe).  And I did start tinkering with the 3D printer again for the first time in a long while.  Maybe I’ll get that running and start seeing what creative things I can do in plastics…

Here’s to an upbeat, happier week!  And, yes, good luck to everyone out there trying out–or auditioning!