Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Expanding Your World
I bought myself a guitar for my last birthday. What was I thinking? I’m in my 50s, can’t read music, and whenever I sing at home, the family—including the cat and normally devoted dog—scatter like roaches at the first sign of light.
It wasn’t something I even planned. Just caught sight of the pretty pink Fender Stratocaster in a music store, forgot all the logical reasons why I shouldn’t purchase such a thing, and proudly brought it home.
And why not, I told myself? I’ve been...


playing air guitar for years (and air drums, too—but unfortunately, when I tried the real thing once I discovered I have absolutely no sense of rhythm or timing).

Sure, it’d be a challenge, but I thrive on challenges.

I’ve only made it to nine lessons so far, got about six chords down, but I’m having fun. And that’s the thing. . . . I’m having fun expanding my world.

I have a colleague in one of my writers group who is 82 years old, just finished her second book, and has already started her third. I currently have an 86-year-old woman in my “What It Takes To Write A Book” class and she’s sharp as a tack. (Writers, please forgive the cliché). She’s never written anything more than a grocery list but wants to write about all the things she’s experienced in her eight decades of living. I told her she practically has an obligation to do so. We all learn from each other and we can certainly learn lots from our elders. Her life is history.

We all have the means to bring new experiences to our lives but sometimes we get stuck in a rut because it’s comfortable. We’re afraid to try new things, and that fear robs us of some of the best things in life. Granted, you may not want to jump out of an airplane, but you might just want to build a model one, just to see how it’s done.

You can never run out of new things to do and that’s what living is for. And even if you find you’re not good at it, at least you’ll know what it’s like doing it.

So take a class, see a play, join a club, learn an instrument, go ballroom or line dancing, sit in on presentation at a library, community center, or the Rock Hall (yes, had to mention that!).

And try this: Read a book or listen to music outside your preferred genre. Keep an open mind. You might be surprised by your own reaction.

Expand your world. . . .

Because in doing so you’re bound to meet fascinating people, learn something interesting you didn’t know before, maybe even change your initial opinion about something or someone. All of which widens your mental, and often spiritual, horizons. You just might learn something new about yourself, too.

Take a tip from children, who see the world with fresh eyes, and dance, skip, and giggle whenever they feel like it.

It’s called enjoying life.

Okay, time to quit writing. I have a guitar that needs strumming.

Till next time, take the time to smell the flowers. It's summer!