Driving past the local oil change station, my eye was caught by their sign board. It said, “Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there!” I shook my head and chuckled, thinking that the sign had done its job. It had gotten me to notice their business and had deposited its little ray of sunshine in the world.
Then I thought about it for a minute and realized that, no matter how trite, it wasn’t a bad piece of advice and fitted particularly well with my recent endeavors. What happens when I get discouraged by how long getting back in shape is taking? The more I practice and the stronger I get, the longer I practice. It gets hard to eke out the time. I have been lucky in having a few opportunities fairly drop in my lap. It won’t always be so easy, and I’ll have to go looking for places to play and face a degree of rejection, either of my level of skills or just being the right person for the situation.
Making the decision to stick with it through thick and thin, or “until you get there”, is not a minor thing. In our lives we start and abandon scores of activities, projects, and ambitions. That’s all a part of trying new things, or setting unrealistic goals, or just a matter of having our attention usurped by something else. When I was younger and less set in my ways, there was more experimentation and less goal-oriented behavior. Then I settled into the things that suited me best, sometimes taking the avenue of least resistance, and my goals had more to do with career and family and making it through daily life. Now I feel able to apply that daily grind persistence to an interest that I’ve chosen to return to. There will be no getting back what I have passed over or missed in the years I was, for all intents and purposes, musically idle.
It’s a bit of a mulligan, a do-over, but if you can’t use the lessons you learn through life, what chance is there to move forward?