October 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
Way back in the day, in college, while studying cognitive dissonance in one of our many psych classes, we were asked to analyze something pertaining to cognitive dissonance in our own lives and report back on our findings. I mention this, because while rather simple and probably trivial in essence, the paper became a very important turning point for me in my evolution into adulthood. I agonized for weeks about what to write … keep in mind, at that point I was merely 21 and had much fewer choices at hand. If I were to do this now for example, well hey… you could say there’s been quite an array of happenings in the last 7 years that could be explored. But, back then, I guess things were a little simpler, although when you don’t know better, things seem just as hard… *note to self, you don’t better… it most certainly only gets harder, enjoy while you can.
In particular, at 21 my life was mostly defined by three major factors:
The big move,
The not so big betrayal,
And The big split.
Amazing isn’t it, that your life can be boiled down to a just a few flag poles, that mark along their way those glaring forks in the road you left behind – you are here, go right.
I think the best thing about thinking of life in map-format is that you’ll never find yourself wishing for a different route… because, lets face it, the road you’re on is your road… it’s who. you. are. … and the fork is how you got here, … so, why on earth would you want to have traveled another way… only to not know yourself. Know yourself.
But, if you were to have a map like this, it would at least help point you in the next direction. *Here I veered left, perhaps now it’s time to head right… *
Seriously, I think charting a life map could come quite handy… in fact, I think I just created a whole new business concept… Life analyzed in visual form. Brilliant. Seriously, why is there not an app for this yet.
Anyway, so the short short version of all this (life until 21) is that The Big Move came with some academic challenges, and to compensate for lacking in all other capacities in a foreign country (specifically – socially, academically and financially), I plowed on with music. Until of course, the no so big betrayal that unfortunately cost me a friend but gained me an entire life… one that suddenly involved anything but music. And I was grateful.
But, the truth is, with leaving music behind came an entirely new challenge of figuring out who I was without it. I think it was similar to what retired people go through when they finally stop working ….and realize that all these years they’ve been a shitty partner to their loved one, a crappy parent to their children and no one at work misses them in the least. And, when someone asks them what they do or who they are, the only word that comes to mind is ‘retired’. For me, it was yet another new beginning. A move into the unknown – no violin as my crutch, no answer for my hobbies, no identity (or so it seemed) beyond my name.
As far as I was concerned, studying is what other people did – ya know, those people that go to school because they are there to learn, not because Ms. France told them to. I on the other hand was just starting to learn how to write and read… it was only a few short years before that, that I didn’t know how… so the idea of school being a place to learn, had somewhat of a foreign notion… I was just there to survive and oh yeah, music.
So when I finally quit, it was a big deal. It was my first real break up… one that has probably scarred me much more than any other break up has. If you follow the rule of two on how long it takes to get over a break up, well then I guess I’m about half way there. So, maybe this means (12 x 2) – 10 = in about 14 years I’ll be ready to start playing again… 🙂
But, why you ask, am I writing all this. The paper I wrote in college was called ‘The Girl That Didn’t Care Enough To Try’… it really was a revealing exercise, one that astutely pointed out to me the degree to which music had affected my life and the reasons behind my choice not to pursue it… and long before then… to despise it. I really saw it as something that stood in the way of everything else that I wanted… which was not to have to rely on it.
So, when I finally took the plunge and went to school for school, it took quite a while for me to figure out whether or not I could even do it – be that person that doesn’t have a crutch. That is just able to succeed all on their own. And so, little by little, I replaced my crutches… one by one, abandoning each in less than a timely fashion, but creatively none-the-less,
…until finally I dropped them all and found myself standing in the middle of St. Pietersplein Square, with my books in hand… me, myself and i – no crutches in sight. And, the feeling is of none other than having finally arrived. Not at a destination you see, but a place of solid ground. One where I am finally standing on my own two feet.
But of course, as I look at myself now, my life-map all the way up in the left hand corner there… so far from the original plan, I can’t help but see myself shortly sprinting in the opposite direction… maybe with a few crutches in tow. Hopefully, by the end of it all, having paved for myself a spectacular journey with some of the best ups and downs that life can bring.