The Wisdom of Aging Reveals a Wasted Youth

Now don’t get me wrong. My youth was not wasted in total. But in one very specific part that I am now very aware of. My musical instrument playing. From the time I was in 4th grade through the start of college, I was playing one form of instrument or another. And I had a fair amount of natural talent. In fact, I had enough to get by such that I didn’t really need to practice to pull off the music that I was playing.

But at the same time, the fact that I never practiced meant that I never got really good. I never expanded my abilities much beyond where they were shortly after I started playing. Practice wasn’t a lot of fun. There was other stuff I wanted to do at night. The reasons were many and varied. And then college came, and I just quit. I didn’t really play an instrument college, despite owning one. And save for a couple of months in a community band after I graduated, I didn’t play at all afterwards. I didn’t even think of myself as a musician anymore, and I was okay with that.

Then the opportunity to play in some musicals presented itself, and so once a year I would get out my instruments, and play at the same level I always had, which wasn’t really good, but it was good enough for middle school musicals.

And then something happened. I got a guitar. A classical guitar. And I started taking private lessons. And for the first time ever I really felt like I had an instrument that I loved playing. And so I practice. All the time. Probably an hour a day. Almost every day. And I’m pretty terrible. But I’ve already improved a huge amount. Probably a faster improvement than I’ve ever had with any instrument.

So it is now, at 28, that I realize that maybe all of those years ago I should have practiced more. I probably could have been really good. But I didn’t, and I can’t go back and change that. I guess all I really can do now is give my all to the guitar and enjoy it, and have the chance to do something I didn’t do many years ago. And I’m pretty happy about that.

4 Replies to “The Wisdom of Aging Reveals a Wasted Youth”

  1. There aren’t a whole lot of musicals with classical guitar parts. Man of La Mancha comes close. 🙂

  2. Nathan,

    I have very small talent in music. In spite of that I have owned/played acoustic guitar since 1978. I have just pounded away at it on my own, learning a song here and there.

    In the past two years I have played publicly at large picnics and a small music festival that is held each year in someone’s yard. I am challenged to play in front of people but I like it too.

    I started taking lessons this year in August. I also bought a new guitar that is light years better than my trusty old Yamaha six string. I am learning a lot and my capability is steadily rising as a musician.

    I am 54 years old. I wish I had done this sooner but that is no excuse not to do it now. You are delusional to think that you have wisdom at 28. Enjoy your delusion and keep going with the lessons. I suspect that you could be an expert player in a short time.

  3. Being talented/skilled/intelligent enough to be decent at things is my downfall. I can do it well enough that I don’t practice/study to get better…so I am a jack of all trades, master of none. And that is my life in a nutshell. I get bored really fast…or I have ADD. Not sure which, but I pretty much switch interests, jobs, etc. faster than a blink. Sigh. On the other hand, I’m loyal to a fault to people and places.

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