Thursday, June 09, 2005

A semi-anniversary

Today marks a different special day. Six months ago I played the oboe for the first time in my life. I remember how I excitedly drove down to Greenwich Music to pick up my rental instrument. I then rushed home to try it out. I had been reading stuff online about how to make sound and was determined to get something out of it that very night. After a few tries I managed a G and by the end of the my little session I had G, A, and B. Boy were they all out of tune! And boy was my mouth tired! Total playtime: 10 minutes maximum.

It took another month before I committed to it seriously. Once the decision was made I knew in my heart it was going to be for life. This took me by surprise. What started as a semi innocent experiment turned into something life altering.

I've alluded to my years of searching before. Looking back on my last 10 years that feeling of always being on the look out for meaning in my life is one of the things that most stands out. I prayed for help finding it. I even asked for some kind of sign! The advice I was offered from others was usually some variant of "you need to look inside" or "only you know".

The best things in my life have come when I least expected them and they have turned out to be things I never expected. Being academically inclined I always thought that my thing would end up being research. Even when I allowed myself to fancy it being in music performance I always saw myself playing an instrument with more of a harmonic function since my most favorite part of my music major was harmonic analysis. My least favorite was melodic dictation. Go figure.

Most of my life my achievements were academic: getting a perfect score on a test, acing a class, getting a certain score on a standardized test. I guess I started to think that my worth was linked to that. Maybe that's why I felt so empty once I went off into the "real world". I never cared to achieve anything major at work and so my ambitious side fell into desuetude. This had the negative effect of converting me into a sloth overall. I stopped taking care of myself until I turned into an unhappy and unhealthy person. For years I felt only half alive.

Thankfully, the last few years were positive as I slowly worked myself out of that funk. However, I was still searching. My spirit longed to plunge into something with wild abandon, to be passionate about getting being good at something again. I really needed that.

Now I find myself seriously questioning my motivations to pursue something like medicine. It would probably take over my life. Perhaps I just have white coat envy. Right now I feel like all my gears are shifting. What I want more than anything is to be the best amateur oboist I can be. Everything else will have to fall into place around that.

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