Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The art of 'becoming' late in the game

I practiced the piano yesterday for 20 minutes because I wanted to.  Chaim tried to reach the keys and plinked as best he could while I practiced the first two lines of two different songs.  I didn't just play the songs I already knew, which is the way my bi-monthly practice sessions usually go, but instead kept reminding myself to stick with it.  It's just so much easier to flitter through songs I've known for years, but then I'm not actually learning anything.  And this is the point that I'm figuring out:  it's not too late to learn, it's not too late to become the person I want to become. 

Sometimes I fall into a trap of thinking that I'm already there--this is who I am, because I don't have any time to devote to becoming the full version of myself.  All my time is devoted to all that "stuff" that having a family and kids and a job, albeit part-time, demands.  But somewhere in there, I'm trying to carve out some time to keep on becoming.  This is a scary statement.  It's scary to say at this point in the game of life, "I'd like to try something new, and I might look silly doing it, or make a lot of mistakes, and need someone to teach me things."  I'm the adult here--I'm supposed to have some answers, but instead, I'd like to be the student again.

I've seen adults try to take on this role, and it's not easy.  My mom was a piano teacher for 20 years, and only once did she ever have a piano student that was older than 18 years old.  In fact, he was probably about 35 years old, which seemed ancient in my 10-year old world.  I thought that adults didn't learn new skills at that point:  you either played the piano or you didn't play the piano.  But here he was, coming for his lesson every week, struggling through theory just like the rest of us.  He was trying to become a pianist, and that meant that he had to put in the work to practice and stick with it. 

Here I am, 35 years old, an ancient age to say, "I need to practice the piano."  But I'm going to do it--I want to play better than I do, and I want to believe that I don't have to just settle for who I am--maybe I can still become the person I want to be.  There are lots of different things I want to become (future posts coming), but for this week, I'm going to stick with the piano.  And next week, I'm still going to stick with the piano.  And the point is to stick with it for days and weeks and months, to become the pianist I want to be.  And even though it's a little later in the game of life (I always thought I would have life figured out by age 25), I'm okay to now plod in the art of becoming.

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