Thursday, January 29, 2009

Less of more

I've taken a couple days off as of late from writing here. More than it would appear, actually. The last few posts that are shown were actually written days in advance and are appearing (appeared) on a scheduled basis. There's a lot going on right now and I'm trying to reel myself in.

After years of doing this, I've really become much better at identifying when I'm doing it. The why has always been easy. I just like doing new things. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out by not trying something. It creates goofy situations like when I had to decide between band and karate. Not many people can say that they had to stop playing the saxophone because it was getting in the way of their karate.

I make light of it but compared to when I was younger, that decision was easy. It took a long time for me to realize that sometimes it is OK to quit things or at least set them aside. Also, that it is perfectly fine to achieve levels other than total mastery, especially when you're trying to juggle multiple things.

Mostly it depends on what you're trying to get out of it. Going back to the band/karate conundrum, I was only playing in the community band at the time. I wasn't being challenged by the music, I rarely rehearsed, I didn't aspire for much more than having a creative outlet. Rehearsals occurred at the same time as my favorite sparring night in karate. Sparring was my favorite part of karate. It, too, was a creative outlet. There, though, I had a number of things I wanted to achieve. I wanted my own style of fighting. I tend to synthesize things. I'll take something from an idea and blend it with a part of some other concept and something from somewhere else and make it my own. So there was that. I also wanted to get better. At the time I was a mid-level student and I wanted to be competitive against everybody, even the top black belts. You can't do that without working at it.

On the other hand, I could have deluded myself as to my importance in the band. Besides my naturally awesome playing I was on the board of directors and was the webmaster. How would they ever get along without me? Same way they did before I got there. Thinking yourself indispensable is a sure sign of taking yourself too seriously. Even if you are, right at this moment, the best whatever in the whole universe, give it some time. You won't be soon enough. Age, obstacles, a bad day, death. Something will take it away from you.

I guess that's why I always aspired to be more of a Renaissance Man than to be elite at something. If I'm having a bad day in karate, I can always play my sax. Or if I don't feel up to rowing, I can write. Made a horrible recipe? No problem, I'll play the horses for a while. I'll probably never win the National Handicapping Championship, deadlift 600 pounds or have a major symphony play my compositions. Then again, maybe I will. As long as I enjoy doing whatever it is I'm doing at the time, I'll feel successful and everything else is just gravy.

And with that, I completely avoided the whole basis of this post which is my having too many interests at the same time. Or did I avoid it? Nah. I'm just putting some things off for a month or two. Whew. Had myself worried there for a second.

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