Being a musician taught me so many things beyond how to play an instrument. Dedication and discipline in pursuit of something you love, for one thing. Humility for another.
Understanding that it was a given you would suck for years before you attained any real mastery – assuming you ever got there.
In the real world, I realized that most people never held themselves to the highest standards, let alone dared to think they might transcend them.
I failed to achieve what I set out to do in music, yet it enriched my life unimaginably. I spent years – decades – striving for something and fell short.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Spending hours and hours every day, like a monk, obsessively practicing, studying, trying to get better. Never missing a day, no matter what. As it became more apparent that I wasn’t doing this for money or recognition, casual acquaintances would sometimes ask me why.
Because I’m compelled to was my answer, knowing they’d never understand.
So now, in my third act, I’m trying to learn how to write, and it’s hard. I’m gifted, but uneducated and flying by the seat of my pants. I can do it effortlessly on an instinctive level, but that doesn’t mean it’s good, much less great.
But here’s where I’ve got an edge – I know what it takes to strive for greatness, and for me it’s fulfilling to try. I know how to learn, how to be disciplined, and I like to work hard.
It’s a long haul, but I’ve been here before.
Things have a way of coming around. Everything’s useful in the end.