Monday, October 29, 2012

Are You Risky?

If you're like most people, you like what you already know; you like what's familiar, what's comfortable.  It makes life easier just to keep going along with what you've always done.  Besides, what's wrong with what you are currently doing?  It's gotten you this far...

It's not always easy to take a risk, to do something new, something that's a little bit scary.  Sometimes it's downright difficult.  But so often is the case, once you've finished the "risky" thing you set out to do, you learn so much about yourself and what you are capable of.  You also gain a new perspective on your life, and you don't look at things the same way; you have a new appreciation for the people that do what you've tried, only they do it day in and day out.  That new perspective is important.

To that end, I've embarked on something that I've been longing to do for years, and that is to learn a new instrument.  The last time I played any instrument was when I was in high school, and I played the violin in orchestra.  That was nearly 20 years ago!  But yet here I am, taking up the cause of learning a new instrument:  the acoustic guitar.

What do I hope to gain from this?  Well, obviously, I'm hoping to learn to play it so that I can play some of my favorite songs.  Maybe, if I keep at it, I'll learn to make up my own music.  But what else do I think I'll learn?  Like I had mentioned earlier, I'll gain a better appreciation of the effort that musicians go through to make music with instruments, especially guitars.  Not only that, I'll be able to 'hear' music better, making out the different instruments used in my favorite songs.  It also affords me another topic of conversation with people that I meet, which is always nice when in need of 'small talk' topics.  It's also another life experience that I can draw on for my writing; I might have one of my next characters use their musical skill in an interesting way, maybe to uncover a clue or solve a murder.  Lastly, it affects new areas of my brain, or at least dormant areas, causing new connections to be made in the ol' grey matter.  This has the bonus of helping to stave off dementia, hopefully for my whole life.

As you can see, there are many benefits to this 'risky' behavior I'm embarking on.  And yet, it's not risky at all, at least in the term that most people think of.  I'm doing it on my schedule, making sure that I'm having fun with it, just like my writing.  If you're doing something that you don't enjoy, why are you still doing it?  Life is too short to be stuck at something you don't enjoy, likewise life is too short to continue to do the same thing, day after day, without a change in the routine.

So get out there, take some risks, and enjoy the rewards.  If you find you don't like it, you've still learned something, and that's a benefit in itself.  Push your limits, explore the world, and see what new things you find exciting.  Be risky!