August 1st 2018 the LA court systems gave me a lovely birthday gift: my divorce was finalized. That chapter was closed. On the 2nd I turned 40. Facing that massive life change I said to myself: just get through the year. But my 40th year was not about surviving, it was realizing that I could thrive. I had the opportunity, truly for the first time, to come “into my own” (and actually understand what that three-word phrase even meant). It was a chaotic year. Everything was fresh and raw. I was figuring my life out from the ground up. Everything was different. And wonderful. Exciting and Exhausting.
Now I am 41. August 1st of this year I embarked on a new adventure with the LA court system, this time legally changing my name to Catherine Joy. A name change that feels so incredibly right and me. It also highlights what I believe this new year is about: taking a breath, and focusing on what I want, need, and what fits me best for this chapter of my life. Calming down and zoning in. I discovered after some thought that “Catherine Joy” was a name that felt right. No additional name was necessary. Joy has always been my middle name, and I share it with my wonderful mum, who is also my first and continual music mentor. My first name means Pure, my names together translating to Pure Joy: something that I would love to be, and radiate out to the world around me.
During this annual cycle around the sun I want to identify other aspects of my life that feel like they fit, and make sure I give them the room they need to develop. I want to slow down and pay attention. I have never read or listened to Marie Kondo, but I love this concept of only having things in your home that bring you joy. I want to do that with the ingredients of my life.
I have started identifying things – especially in my composing career – that at one point worked well for me but now no longer bring me joy. I don’t want to make decisions about my life by comparing my path to others, I want to make deliberate choices which feel right for my journey. This is not easy to do, but I feel like if I take a breath, and pay attention, the right path will become clear. I was talking with my bestie Jacques about figuring out whether you like something, or if you just think you like it because other people in your life like it. He said he totally got what I was saying; it was like taking your pulse on someone else’s arm. That shook me. What a striking analogy. I know that I have spent a lot of my life doing exactly that. But no more.
Finally, even as I am a planner to my core, a forward-thinking person, I want to take time to appreciate where I am, right now. Be present. Be grateful. Enjoy each step of the journey, while also wanting to move on to something else. You can be ambitious while enjoying the status quo. A challenging balance, but I’d like to at least attempt to achieve it.
So here’s to a new year of thoughtful, joy-filled choices. I am so grateful for your support and friendship. Cheers.