Life is a surprise birthday party – or so I believe. When you live without expecting anything, but take each day as a mystery waiting to unfold, you’re never disappointed, but often pleasantly surprised.
When I started to learn piano, I went in with a completely unconcerned attitude. This would be easy, hard, fun, boring – whatever, I didn’t mind. As it turned out, I loved learning piano…the feel of the smooth ivory keys under my fingers, the sound of notes floating to my ears, the gloss of the ebony surface. I loved how all of these notes and rhythms and musical markings were thrown onto the page for pianists to sit down and play. It’s almost like magic – interpreting the “spell” before you can cast it, or, in this instance, play it.
Imagine if I had gone in to my lesson, however, expecting to perform like Chopin. Not only is such a thought unrealistic, but it sets me up for an extreme let-down. On the other hand, if I had prepared myself for failure, told myself I would have a difficult time learning piano, I would have been defeated before I even started. The strategy, instead, was to go in with a blank slate. Anything could be written on that slate. Just thinking of the possibilities electrified me.
Approaching life with an attitude of openness also prevents unnecessary worrying. When I was preparing for housing at college, I heard so many people around me expressing their concerns. Will I get good housing? Will I live with my friends? Will there be room for me? Out of all their ponderings, maybe not one would come true, and all that time and energy was wasted on wondering. Sure things may turn out poorly, but they might also turn out well. Wait…and while you’re doing that, the only thing to expect is a surprise.
Start every day not knowing, but, more importantly, not worrying what will happen. Let yourself be surprised…because you certainly will be. I thought I could never master piano at age 18. “It’s too late for me,” I thought, “I’ve passed the prime years for learning.” But, here I am, delightfully astonished. I, too, can create that musical magic. I believe in allowing life to burst in on you, pick you up by the collar of your shirt, and show you all that is truly possible.
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