Nothing strikes fear into the depths of my heart quite as much as the words: “a new adventure”. Seriously, how did this happen? I always thought I would never stop learning. I thought getting older wouldn’t matter, because I would still be interested in new adventures. I would want to try new things or experience new things and, in that way, I would continue to drink up all the life and energy in the world around me.
And then … I dunno. It sounds like a complete cop-out, but middle age happened. It kind of snuck up on me when I had my back turned. Before I knew it, I had come skidding (completely against my will, mind you) out of my 20s and into my 30s. And then, even worse, life dragged me, kicking and screaming, from my 30s into my 40s. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t realize that at the time, and, honestly, I’m not sure it matters all that much, anyhow. I mean — you turn 40 when you turn 40, you know? But, whether it matters or not, I wasn’t ready. For any of it.
Life got away from me. Depression got ahold of me. I got bagged down in emotional problems and baggage I never even noticed in my younger years. Mostly, I didn’t notice it back then because I was pretty darn good at pretending none of it existed, but that’s a story for another post. Along with depression, my health deteriorated and so did my self-esteem. It had been valiantly struggling along, doing its best to remind me that I was a worthy person. But, somewhere around age 40 or so, it kind of gave up the ghost.
Somewhere along the way, I became afraid. Afraid to try new things. Afraid to fail. Afraid to step out of my comfort zone. Afraid to look like a fool. Just … afraid. It happens. I think, at one point or another, we all have to face up to our own fears and private demons. I think we all also have to face up to the person that lives inside us — that little part of us that can make us either better or worse. Getting to know that person and, even more than that, getting to a point where we can love him or her is no small or easy task. It’s a bit terrifying. The thing is … I had become so afraid that I had stopped living. I didn’t want to learn or change or experience new things. I didn’t care about any of it. I didn’t love my life. Heck, most of the time, I didn’t even want my life. And so, I began to stagnate. I began to feel so much older than I am, and, overall, I felt disappointed in myself.
I have wanted to learn how to play the piano since I was a little kid, but my family couldn’t afford lessons. Also, I didn’t have any way to practice, as there was no way we could ever afford to buy a piano. For years, I longed to take the plunge and invest in lessons. I listened longingly to people who could play and felt twinges of bitter jealousy toward them. But, instead of moving forward, I told myself to forget about this. It was a silly dream from my childhood that wasn’t meant to be because I’m “too old” now for learning something new. And because it’s “too late” to start from scratch. Each time I would think about lessons for myself, that little voice inside would speak up to remind me there was no way I could get the hang of it because I’ve been away from music for too long. Or, it would whisper about how silly I would look struggling to learn a new instrument at my age. And on and on and on — a million times a million doubts and reasons why it was a bad idea for me to learn how to play the piano.
But no more. I’ve decided things must change, and, today, I took a little step toward telling my inner voice to shut the heck up. We bought a piano! And, within the next month, I will be signing up for piano lessons. I’m shocked and feeling giddy and excited just typing about it. I can’t wait to get started on what I hope will be a new adventure.
I’m no fool. I know buying a piano and taking lessons won’t cure all my woes. But, perhaps, it’ll teach my little inner voice she doesn’t have to whisper negative things at me all the time. She can learn how to sing, instead.