Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Taking A Plunge

I had a visit from a customer today who isn't really a customer in the sense that he has never purchased anything from my store.  He visits.  He likes it here.

The last time he was in made a profound impression on me.  Today he seemed happier.  He mentioned that the woman he was seeing has a music degree.  That made me smile.

Every time this customer who is not yet a customer stops in he talks about wanting to play the violin.  He wants to.  But he just can't seem to make himself take the next step of actually doing something about it.  He looks admiringly at all the instruments and asks questions and smiles and seems as if he wants to reach for things he's not sure he's ready to have.

Every time I tell him it's not expensive to rent a violin just to try it out and see if it's a fit.  Sometimes it's not what people think it will be.  There is work involved, not magic.  You have to discover if you enjoy the process not just the result to see if it's worth making a part of your life.

I meet people all the time who say they regret either not staying with an instrument, or having never tried it.  I encourage them to get an instrument and a teacher just to see.  They may even discover they don't like it, and there is value in that as well because then they can scratch that regret off their list and not worry about it anymore.  There is also the chance it will bring them joy, so where's the harm in trying?

I'm not sure why some people can't take the plunge.  I'm not sure what sorts of doubts they harbor that prevent them from taking action in their own lives.  I'm a cautious person.  I'm the annoying mom who is always saying, "Be careful!"  But I don't understand not taking a chance on something that is so low risk and potentially such high reward.  I understand when money is an obstacle, and I try to find solutions to that, but most of the people I meet who want to play and then just don't do it have some other reason for not taking that next step.  They can afford it.  They have the desire.  They just can't make themselves do it.

Most of the regrets I have in my life involve things I didn't do, not things I did.  I've made a conscious effort as an adult to make myself do things I'm interested in, even when getting started is uncomfortable.  It's a lesson I'm trying hard to impart to my kids so they might not miss out on things.

Because life is short.  You shouldn't deny yourself the potential for joy because of vague doubts.

My customer who is not yet a customer again left my store without a violin.  He was happy to visit.  He looked like he had to return to whatever errands he was trying to complete.  Looking at violins again was a brief diversion.  A chance to dream.  "Next time!" he assured me as he walked out the door.  "Next time I will do it!"

I told him I hoped so.  That there was nothing to lose and lots to gain.  He smiled as he left.  Maybe next time.

I hope he comes back.  Because I have a feeling his only regret will be that he waited so long to try.


  1. When I finished grad school and moved to a new city for my first teaching job, I searched out guitar lessons. After six months, I learned that I am not talented that way, but it was totally worthwhile to try.

  2. 'Because life is short. You shouldn't deny yourself the potential for joy because of vague doubts.'

    Love that statement. How so true is that. When I try out something I've been postponing for so long, my only regret is that I don't get to try it much earlier so I can enjoy it longer. :)

  3. I loved this post! I agree, most of my regrets are about not doing things, I rarely regret things I've done. Thank you for sharing, and doing it so eloquently. Love your blog!

  4. I absolutely agree as many of my regrets were for things I didn't try or do.

    Next time, he'll try. (Pollyanna at work here.)

  5. I feel exactly as you do, that my regrets are about what I shied away from, not what I ventured into and failed..lovely post.

  6. While I agree with your sentiment for the most part, sometimes there is something sweet and/or necessary about nursing a fantasy rather than facing up to the reality - as you say, playing an instrument is work. Maybe he'd rather hold on to the fantasy a while longer :)

    1. That's a sweet way to think about it, Sheena. But there is so much that is truly unattainable to fantasize about! I guess I'd rather save my imagination for those things than things I could actually do.

  7. Beautiful post. I remember a conversation I had with cousin Gladyce many years ago... when I was an aged 22 years old. When I told her that I didn't play the piano but would be interested in learning, she replied that I was too old! Too late. Skiiing. Too old! Too late.
    After the third such age-based activity was dismissed, I simply laughed in disagreement.