2020 – Singing, Sickness, Self-isolation & Turning 40

Hi everyone,

It has been a long time since I’ve posted here on my Musings of an Aspiring Diva blog. With the worldwide pandemic happening right now, and recently turning 40 ๐Ÿ˜ฎ, I have been reflecting a lot on life and have gone through what feels like a rollercoaster of emotions, so I thought I would share what’s been up!

The past year of life has been busy, but one thing I am thrilled about is joining a wonderful chamber choir this past fall, Seventeen Voyces. I am singing regularly again – woohoo! ๐ŸŽถ This is a small but mighty group of wonderful singers (and humans) led by one of the kindest and most creative people I’ve ever met. I am really enjoying the repertoire we’ve done so far and we laugh and have fun together. I was super grateful to sing a bit of opera in the first concert with them and do some work as a soloist. We provided the soundtrack to an old silent movie in ‘Faust’, which was my second time singing a concert with a silent movie! It was fun, but also challenging; in addition to the opera bits, I was part of a trio where I had to sing high C’s in straight tone, softly. Eek! This opened and closed the show, with opera and choral singing in between. It was challenging, but we did it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I have been super happy to sing regularly again and have realized how core this is to my overall happiness. BUT… in November, I came down with a chest infection, then the flu, and the worst cold I’ve ever had in my life. After multiple trips to the doctor and many days off of work to rest, I was sick for almost 8 weeks. I had to cancel one of my concerts last minute (first time ever), which filled me with anxiety, guilt and disappointment. After Christmas I was starting to feel better, but I still missed a few rehearsals due to sickness and travel for work. Just after I started to feel normal again, I came down with another bad cold and I ended up missing the dress rehearsal for our Jeptha concert; I knew I could sing either the concert or rehearsal with the little energy I did have, but not both. Again, I had lots of negative and guilty feelings about this, but I rested as much as I could and in the end I was able to sing for the concert. It is so hard to make those decisions as a singer, and I really hate letting people down. Guilty feelings, sickness and wallowing aside, I’m incredibly grateful to have this group to sing with. They are amazing people, we have fun, and we make beautiful music together. It’s nice to feel like I have a musical home again, as I admit I was feeling a bit lost as to where I fit here in the Ottawa music scene.

In February, I turned 40. This was a big milestone that has had me thinking about everything in life from my career to my personal life, to what really makes me happy. After some chats with friends, I decided that for my birthday that I wanted to receive 40 acts of kindness from my friends near and far. I am happy to report that we reached this goal! It was fun hearing from so many people about their experiences and I plan to capture all of the stories in a book sometime to remember this. Thank you to everyone who participated! I also had a wee gathering at a local pub, where I realized most of my friends in Ottawa are from work! ๐Ÿ™‚

img_3266We had cake, drank beer and caught up, it was really nice. One of my friends got me a helium balloon with 40 on it, which entertained my cat Ginger for weeks – it was awesome.I am planning to continue celebrating for the whole year with trips, concerts, and personal feats.ย The first one I accomplished was learning how to snowboard! Special thanks to my main squeeze Kelly for being so patient with me and helping me learn. I didn’t die or break any bones this season, so we’ll call that a WIN! ๐Ÿ†



Now, the global pandemic COVID-19. We left for vacation in Punta Cana on March 8th, which was a much needed vacation to escape from work, school and all of the other stresses in life.


The beach is where I recharge! While my partner and I hung out on the beach, little did we know that things would escalate so quickly with the pandemic. I watched the news like a hawk and was concerned when flights were cancelled between Europe and the U.S.; then they started asking Canadians abroad to come home. We were fortunate that our trip was scheduled to end soon after, and had a great vacation despite lots of rain.

By the time we got back last week, we were advised to self-isolate for 14 days. We haven’t left the house since last Sunday except for a short walk (keeping our distance from others) yesterday. I worked from home all week after I got back, and what I realized is how this experience differs for people depending on their personal situation. I know for me, it was weird working from home and not being allowed to go out or interact with people, but it was the right call as we didn’t want to inadvertently spread the virus to someone if we had picked it up while traveling. Others are dealing with kids who can’t have birthday parties, worries about aging parents or family members with auto-immune deficiencies, sick pets, and being isolated. The telephone network is overloaded. I feel horrible for people who are self-employed, my artist friends across the globe, and for health care workers who are risking their own safety to help others. It’s so sad to watch and it’s definitely filled me with fear and anxiety at times. Yet, I’m grateful to have this time at home to spend with my partner and my kitties and to be forced to slow down and appreciate the important things in life. And sometimes I feel guilty about being happy to be stuck home for a few days when I know some people don’t have that choice. It’s a roller coaster for many right now. ๐ŸŽข

A positive thing that I keep seeing is how people are connecting to each other using virtual mediums right now, and how people are reaching out, re-connecting with people they love and taking care of one another.ย  A friend dropped off some groceries today (thank you!) and I have had numerous people reach out to see how we’re doing, for which I am grateful. I’ve had virtual chats with friends all over the world, FaceTime wine dates with friends , and am so happy to see videos of my niece and nephew running in the woods. While I can’t offer any help outside of my home in the current state, I can listen, help people cope and lend my skills or assistance virtually! If you want to chat, or I can assist any of you, please don’t hesitate to reach out!!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

How are you all doing? Sending love, light and positivity to the world as we get through this. Giant virtual hugs, since actuals aren’t allowed. โค


About Melanie Anderson

Singer, basketball player, scotch enthusiast, Canadian. http://www.MelanieIAnderson.com
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2 Responses to 2020 – Singing, Sickness, Self-isolation & Turning 40

  1. Scott says:

    Hey Mel, happy to hear that you got your vacation in and are feeling better. The working from home is hard on many of us. After so many years as a hardcore introvert, once I become more extraverted my life gets locked up hahaha. I also did a major reflection on my life at 40 and again at 50. I blogged about them at the time but I think they got wiped out in one of my many “delete the blog” moments. But always good to look back at the good and bad and realize that those experiences are responsible for who we have become. If you like who you have become, then never regret the past – always look forward and continue to strive for who you want to be and what you want to accomplish. Always enjoy your posts! Keep save with Kelly and the kitties! Cheers.


  2. Jim P says:

    It’s good to hear from you, Mel! I’m glad things are going well. I too reached a milestone this year, as I turned 50. And I also celebrated with a happy hour at a bar! (Although in my case, no one from work was able to show up. But I did invite them.) Moments like those do make you reflect on your life; how’s it is going, where you’ve been; and where it is heading. I truly feel blessed, and it sound like you do to.


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