Music Heals

I didn’t intend to play my bass last evening. Something made me sit down anyway. I played both of my Ibanez five string basses. The green one is full size and the black one is a short scale. I’ve been playing the short scale for so long I actually found the bigger bass difficult to play. It hurt my hands.

I love playing. Even though I felt bad in general yesterday making music lifted my mood and helped me forget my wonky stomach. I felt better afterwards.

Learning to play changed my life, and regular playing continues to improve my days.

What If?

I used to think that I was unique and special but now I know I am really no different than anyone else. I feel the mediocrity and tedium of a fairly long life lived. Were I able to do it over, would I do it differently?

Given the opportunity at age 11 to attend an exclusive advanced placement school and enter a program for gifted children, I turned it down. My mother who was shy and avoided people contact at all costs did me a disservice. I wonder now if she should have pushed me to go and to grow. Instead she let me make the decision to stay with my friends. Socially I was happier, but what if I had gone? What if I had excelled?

Then again at 18, I was paralyzingly shy myself. I had been bullied in high school so my learning experience had not been as enjoyable as it could have been. I chose to bypass furthering my education and did not go to college. Do I wish I had gone at 18 now? Yes and no. Stuck in a humdrum but steady and reliable job as a secretary, I always had work. But if I had gone and found a field of study that opened up my mind, who knows what I might have become? I did go back to college at age 51. I ended up earning two degrees. I don’t feel I missed out on the college experience so much now, but I still wonder what my life might have been like had I gone at 18.

Graduation night 2014. Associates degree in Interactive Media Design (web design), summa cum laude

I’ve been a voracious reader my entire life. I remember library trips with my mother – one of the few places she would willingly go. She developed and encouraged my love of reading. My best memories are of my parents both reading me the comics in the newspaper. My mother read books to me and taught me to read on my own. She was always reading. I had a passing thought about journalism or writing as a career. I spent a lot of time scribbling down stories in a wire bound notepad. What if I’d followed through on writing as a career?

My mother loved music, too. She played the piano, and we always had an electric organ in the house – it took up most of one of the walls in the living room. She tried to teach me, but I couldn’t figure out how to play with both hands. I tried in vain in later years with a teacher, too. Same result. I took guitar lessons at 10 or 11, and that was hard, too. I tried again at age 59 with a teacher, and playing guitar chords was still not my thing.

Then one day on a whim I bought myself a used Schecter bass guitar. Maybe it was the bass itself. That Schecter is a beauty. Maybe playing rhythm was my thing (I’m always tapping my foot along to music), but suddenly I fell in love with playing. What if I had tried to play bass when I 10? What if I’d stuck with it all these years? Would I have had the courage to join a band in my 20’s or 30’s?

My first bass – a used Schecter Raiden Special 4

I know hindsight is always 20/20, and I know I can’t change anything that happened decades ago. But at times I still wonder – what if?

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