How many of us zip through our lives without pausing to think about what we’re doing? I know there are periods in my own hectic existence when all that matters is getting through the day, week, month. Lately, though, I’ve been looking at what’s most important in my life. There are the obvious themes: family, love, the health and happiness of those I love, friendships, my creativity, feeling productive and like I’m contributing something to the world.
There are also wishes, dreams as yet unfulfilled. Through neglect, I’ve let some of them slip into the realm of impossibility. I doubt I’ll feel free enough, while still young enough, to join the Peace Corps or go to Carnival in Rio and dance from afternoon until dawn.
Others might still be possible, if I push. I might actually go on that walking tour of pubs in Ireland and drink a frothy stout at every one. I might write that book that hits the market just right and propels me to a new level in my career . . .
I might take up yoga; dedicate real time daily to meditation; learn T’ai Chi and Pilates. I’d better see the Aurora Borealis in full color, go whale watching, swim with dolphins.
And then there’s the cello.
When I was a kid, I wanted to play that noble instrument with all of my heart.
My mother said, “You can’t. It’s unladylike. If you’re going to play anything, it’ll be the violin.”
End of argument.
So I played violin for four years and hated every single minute of it. Mom finally let me stop taking lessons when she caught me holding the violin like a guitar on my lap—playing it full pizzicato—while composing my 60th or 70th macabre folk song.
For years, playing the cello was a fantasy of mine. I wanted to feel those incredible low notes reverberate from my toe tips to my fingers and throughout my body right to the outer edges of my scalp. But I’ve always put it off. I was too busy; I’d never find the time to practice. It was too expensive. It was frivolous, too self-indulgent.
Well, screw that.
Two months ago, I rented a cello and started taking lessons.
The wonderful thing about doing this, beyond the life-affirming qualities of it, is that I’m putting absolutely NO pressure on myself to “succeed.” Playing the cello is utterly for my own pleasure. I don’t give a damn if anyone else ever hears me or likes what they hear if they do. I don’t have to accomplish anything beyond enjoyment.
As a result, I’m doing really well and already have a repetoire of about twelve nice little pieces. My Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star would make you weep for all the right reasons. I love to practice. I adore the effort and struggle of trying to get the bowing just right and making sure I’m actually in tune.
I’m having such a blast with this that I want everyone else I know to find something equally baggage-free and satisfying.
So what about you? Have you taken a similar plunge to do something you’ve always wanted to do? If not, do you have a dream that you could really do?
Why aren’t you doing it yet?
——————————- A note about my next two posts —————————————
In early October, I’m going to attend an intensive writing workshop and probably won’t be online at all for two full weeks. As a result, the wonderful L.J. Sellers will guest on the ‘Rati on October 5. I’m considering doing my let’s-write a story-together experiment again on the 19th. By then, I’ll be back though my sanity might still be in question.