January 6, 2018
Bob is in his 90s.
A couple of years ago, after his wife died, he decided to learn how to play the piano.
He never played before.
Helen, his wife, had played. He still had her piano in their apartment and so he decided to learn how to play.
He takes lessons once a week. He practices every day. He doesn't yet play for other people.
I imagine he looked at that piano every day for a while after Helen died and one day just decided to do it.
It's hard to learn an instrument in your 90s. Your ear is used to hearing beautiful pieces played by accomplished musicians. Your eyes and your fingers aren't what they used to be. There are so many ways in which Bob could have quit without anyone questioning his decision and yet he didn't.
In his 90s, Bob is learning to play piano.
Oh, Bob also takes a different class at Oberlin College each semester.
The residents at Kendal are allowed to audit classes at Oberlin so long as there is room in the class and the professor is agreeable.
I love talking to Bob when we see him at Sunday brunch now and then because he's always learning and thinking about something. I don't always agree with what he has to say - but that isn't the point - I marvel at him and respect how much he continues to grow.
Bob's not in a hurry. He's in his 90s. He's long retired. He's not in a hurry but he's making the most out of the time he has.
I do a fair amount. I could do so much more.
I have a mental stack of projects I've been meaning to start. I've decided that this is the year I will start them.
My second word for this year is "Do It".
Like my first word, "And Then", my second word is two words. I'm not going to let that stand in my way - I'm going to "Do it".
I have a friend who has difficulty finishing things. I have difficulty beginning them.
I want them to be so good and there's so much work to be done before I can get started on this new thing.
It turns out these are just some of the hundreds of excuses that Bob is ignoring when he registers for a new course at Oberlin or practices the piano.
I've been talking about producing a video series for years. This year, I'm going to do it.
I've been talking about writing more books a year - short, focused books. This year, I'm going to do it.
I'm going to start them.
That's the hard part.
That's the "getting to the gym" part.
I love being at the gym but getting there is hard for me.
Thank goodness I'm not allowing myself a third word this year or I'd begin my second year with "Just". That would feel awkward and derivative to me. There is no "Just" about it. It's hard. But this year my second goal is "Do It".