Accordions and expectations

I just had a birthday that happens to coincide with a whole bunch of introspectiveness, which isn’t a bad thing. My teacher, BK Bose says that comfort cannot be the objective of an examined life, and it seems that I keep receiving opportunities to examine myself. So, definitely not comfortable, but useful for sure.

A recurring theme for me this year has been parsing out the motivation behind my actions. Sometimes, the reason we started something no longer applies. Sometimes, we do things that no longer fit, but we feel perceived expectations. (Notice, this is perceived expectations. Truthfully, most of the time no one is really thinking about you. They are thinking about themselves.)

A true life example for me is this year, I gave up playing the accordion. I loved playing, for about two years. The learning process was spectacular, and I picked it up when my kids were very little and I wasn’t using my brain much. It made me feel revitalized, and it was a lot of fun. The last year was a slog. With my teaching schedule, library and volunteer work, I never had time to play, and I kept going much longer largely because I fell into a “I should, I’ve come so far” and for adoration of my wonderful teacher. I, however, was no longer enjoying it. It felt like another obligation. I took a forced hiatus from lessons, due to an insane schedule, and didn’t really miss it. The spark was gone. It took me more than six months to realize it, but I had already gotten what I needed from it. I have moved on. I am thankful for hundreds of hours that I spent playing, but circumstances have changed. The only reason I would have kept going is for external approval, not intrinsic pleasure. And external approval? That’s just not a very good reason.

Is there anything in your life that you hanging onto, maybe because you are used to it, or because it pleases someone else? If something has felt more like a burden than something that feeds your soul, sit on it, think about it, and after a time, make a fully aware decision about what needs to happen next. Feel like sharing? Leave a comment, I would love to hear about it.