I chose the subject of “taking things too seriously” as my first published blog, simply because everything I do and say is affected by the habit. I’ve always had difficulty just “doing something for the sake of doing it”; without fail, I get sucked in by the fascinating details of the subject, making it hard to just have a “hobby.” Anyway, you’ve been warned!
Okay, so I take things a bit too seriously—I know it; as a kid growing up in the isolated countryside of rural Washington State, I longed to play baseball. Baseball is of course a team sport, so it was like pulling teeth to get enough kids together to play an honest game! “Work-up” maybe, but a real game? Most times, even work-up would degenerate into something else; without adult supervision, kids (and many adults!) would rather goof around then be serious about anything (silly me; most kids have an attention span of about 1 minute—I was asking them to be serious for at least 5!). I think my greatest regret in life is that I didn’t have the opportunity or encouragement to get truly serious about baseball.
My next greatest regret is that I didn’t have a good high-school music experience; the school was too small and music was too unimportant. And just like baseball, that kind of music is a team event. I am fortunate in that I came from a musical family, otherwise, I would not be a musician today. I carried a surprising amount of anger about this for many years before I took the self-initiative to do something about it; to get anywhere with anything of course ultimately requires self-initiative, but still, I can’t help but think that a good school experience would have set me on the path to higher achievement.
I took fish seriously at one time; as a 7th grader, my science teacher let me concentrate on fish for all of my reports. For a 13 year old, I really got into the nuts and bolts of fish; my reports included scientific names, spawning seasons, and minute details like how many scales were on the lateral lines of the different species! I got decent grades, but at the end of the year, the only report-card advice my teacher could give me was “there’s more to life than fishing.”
Never mind that we lived in the “Salmon Capital of the World” (Westport, WA)! He could have at least taken me down to the harbor and let me hang out with the ichthyologists (fish scientists, and yes, I knew what they were then and could even pronounce it); do you think maybe they might have had some career advice for me? You can bet they took fish (and science in general) just a bit seriously! And do you think maybe the teacher should have recognized and encouraged my serious nature and scientific interest and drive? Isn’t that a teacher’s job?
Another thing that I took too seriously for a while was skiing. I started at age 18, and quickly became hooked! I also quickly realized that it was a rich-man’s sport, so I did what any clear-thinking young adult would do; I became a ski bum! I earned a full-certification as a professional ski instructor, and spent the next 8 years living the life. To make a long story short, I then grew up and moved on. I’ve never quite figured out how to enjoy the sport as a hobby—and I can’t afford or justify the outrageous price of a lift ticket today—so I have probably skied my last run. No regrets there—just another example of taking something too seriously.
Anyway, I don’t like regrets, and don’t plan to have any more. I now see “taking something seriously” as the difference between a world-class achiever (which is what I was meant to be) and an also-ran; I’ve been an also-ran my whole life, and I’m tired of it!
So now that I have retired from active duty and can afford to do so (and am finally mature enough to know what I really want out of life), I have decided to pour all of my energy and seriousness into the four-string banjo. As far as I’m concerned, there are not enough of us willing to do so. On the plus side, it’s a wide-open field; on the negative side, it is currently a dying instrument that has difficulty getting and holding the attention of the general public. And it is simply not taken seriously!
That is my mission in life, and the reason for this blog site. Thank you for reading! I invite you to tune in and participate/comment in my madness!