I got a lot of shit on my plate.
So do we all I guess -well, at least those of us who are adults. Except I have been living in a state of deferred adulthood for some time and now having moved back to Canada and enrolled in school, etc. I am trying to reintegrate back into civil society, and its rather like a game of double-dutch. Granted its easier jumping into Canadian society than it was to jump in to German society -For one, the language is the same, but also I suppose I am more motivated to be here than I was to be there.
I don’t know, but look: I’ve gotten sidetracked.
In the midst of all this stuff to do, I have purchased a new guitar.
Nothing fancy, it is simply a workhorse electric which I can quietly play either unplugged or with headphones so as not to disturb my housemates. With school costs and initial move-in costs all adding up in my first month back, the wisdom of buying an axe might seem questionable but I know myself well enough to know that nothing is better for my psychological state than having something meaningful and productive to do with my hands.
So I bought it, and having now had it for two days I noticed slight pangs of guilt when I would pick it up and start looking up chord transpositions.
“I should be doing something else” I would think to myself. “I should finish my tax return or look up new writing jobs or at the very least worry impotently about the future.”
Yesterday though, like a lightning bolt to my brain I realized that I was being self-defeating. This is exactly why I bought the guitar -that is, to assuage feelings of guilt about idleness when I felt overwhelmed by life. Playing over the last two years has brought me so much focus and clarity of purpose that I would be silly to abandon this pursuit thinking I had derived all benefit from it. I have only gotten better and I can intensify my skills now, fulfilling a promise made to myself to graduate from school in two years not only wealthier than when I went in, but also more skilled at performance and playing.
While it is true that I probably need to establish more of a schedule as classes approach, setting aside certain practice hours during the day, it is also true that I should trust my inclinations and not feel bad if I am strongly drawn toward creating something beautiful. The constant state of existential despair and worry has utility insofar as it motivates us to take action in life, but beyond a certain threshold it has the detrimental effect of robbing us (ME) of the joy of the moment.
So yesterday I told myself, “I will never feel guilty for picking up a guitar,” and I repeated it over and over again like a mantra; like it was some profound truth which I was happily arrived at after years of deliberation.
There’s so much joy and good I have deprived myself of in insidious ways throughout my life and I am only realizing that now: The joy of family, the joy of a social circle, the joy of hoping for my own family one day, and the joy of having coworkers. I have felt sub-consciously that I didn’t deserve these joys, even though outwardly I seemed happy and well-resigned to the romantic fate I had chosen for myself. Perhaps by allowing this one meaningful, joyful pursuit into my life guilt-free, I can help along the process of peeling away that internalized guilt which makes me stifle and stultify myself because I don’t feel I deserve better.
I don’t know -it’s all very speculative. But at least I can ponder it while practicing my scales.