Wednesday 17-Dec-2003

After my violin lesson last night I was realizing how lucky I am in a lot of ways. Just before the lesson I was listening to NPR and heard a story about a 30 y.o. woman who really loved to run, but suddenly developed ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) last spring and now mourns every day that she can no longer run. Then Mer told me that Matt's mother had just died - not unexpected from her diagnosis, but another "too young too soon" death. And I also remembered that one of my motivators for eating better and exercising was the sudden death of an on-line colleague last winter, who was only a year older than I was.

Besides general gratitude for still being alive (which isn't insignificant - at the time I graduated from college I was very depressed/suicidal; plus there was the later Insane Girlfriend episode during which I might easily have gotten killed several times), the NPR story reminded me of how easy it would have been to keep feeling like there wasn't any way for me to return to playing violin, or that something could have happened while I wasn't that would have prevented me from playing again (not sure I would have had the determination of the guy on the Fiddle Forum who re-taught himself to play left-handed after an injury to his left fingers - though now I probably would).

Something physical still could happen at any time that would make playing difficult/impossible, and I would mourn that. But this past year I've gotten to do, or start on, so many musical projects that I never even allowed myself to consciously wish for, so I feel like I've already gone much further than I ever expected to be able to do (echoes of parents/teachers telling me "it's nice that you play, but don't expect to be able to do much with it, except maybe teach..."), and am getting much more emotional satisfaction from it than was possible in the classical world. I'm sure there's more to come - along with let-downs, too, but so far the opportunities seem to outweigh the disappointments.

If you had told me last January that by December I'd be playing with a band at the Lizard Lounge, I would probably have considered you as being kindly over-optimistic... So I'm going to continue taking on every interesting opportunity I can get, while discarding the ones based on older connections that no longer feed me (e.g., classical gigs for community orchestras). I may have years to enjoy this (fantasies: having a birthday-bash gig on my 50th at the Middle East, Lizard, wherever; retiring early to be able to play more; etc.), or could encounter the proverbial bus tomorrow. For a while this year I was filled with regret about all the time I wasted (inadvertently, granted) not being connected to my playing, but now I know that it's not about what didn't happen - it's about all the things that are, and will be... so I'm grabbing it all now.


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