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It Matters

Mendy Smith

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Published: October 11, 2014 at 1:31 AM [UTC]

For the first time in a very long time, I have been unable to practice every day, even for a few minutes, due to day-job project deadlines. The few days I've managed to do so in the past few weeks have been severely limited. It got to the point where I ended up sending an email to my teacher apologizing for my lack of preparation in advance of lessons. My teacher offered to let me take a break from lessons until the project was completed. I refused the offer on the grounds that it is my tenuous link to sanity at the moment and that currently I'm viewing it as "music therapy".

A few days later after this conversation with my teacher, I received news that my main local point of contact with my client on the project I'm running passed away. He recently had some health issues, but no one expected this outcome.

The gentleman I've worked closely with for over a year was a guitarist. Every week for nearly a year, before our weekly status meetings, he and I would talk about music. Though our instruments and music genre were different, we connected in our shared joy of music, sharing that passion with others, and lamenting over trying to achieve a good balance of sound in a group setting (he dreaded playing with a 12-string guitar). A few weeks before he passed away, he was able to fulfill a life-long dream by performing with his group in a venue he dreamed of playing in for a long time.

I just turned a year older a few days ago. The reality of how short my life really is hit me hard given recent events. It forced me to ask myself honestly if putting my life on the back-burner is worth it, even short-term. I'm struggling with the answer to that question.

What I have been able to answer is that taking time, no matter how short in duration, to pursue my musical passion matters. The 5 minutes or so it takes to play a scale does wonders for my state of mind. Having a care-free hour to play Bach with abandon lifts my spirits. Having to focus on releasing physical and mental tension keeps me going. And at the end of the day, when all is said and done, it boils down to a question of what I've done with my life, if it was fulfilling, satisfying and if I able to bring joy and comfort to someone else.

So, I guess I answered my own question. It matters.

From Karen Collins
Posted on October 11, 2014 at 2:16 AM
From Christina C.
Posted on October 11, 2014 at 4:53 AM
Very sorry, Mendy. And yes, a tragedy that touches our life often prompts us to look around and assess where life has gotten to and where it seems to be headed. We often decide that we need to do things differently….unfortunately for many people it stops there. When I look at the people around me it seems that so many people haven't found their passion, and among those who do know what it is, many still don't manage to work it into their everyday existence. I don't think that's you. It's a blessing to know what matters to you and to already have made it part of your life as much as you have. Carpe Musica!?
From elise stanley
Posted on October 11, 2014 at 10:20 PM
I've been through the same thing - a very demanding career and then a blossoming passion in viol playing. The difference perhaps is that the latter hit me relatively recently. I also found that it was my sanity - and I made the decision to put it first. Thus, I practise every morning before leaving for work - and that works for me for if I have any time then in the afternoon its a bonus.

Its the age old problem: making life possible vs making life worthwhile. Too much either way leads to impoverishment of one kind or the other and hence, we all have to find a personal balance.

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