Guitar: check. Amp: check. Learning how to play again: check.
My plan is to get back into shape as a guitarist, then start writing stuff again. It’s been a long time since I consciously sat down to write something involving notes and chords. I’m looking forward to it.
Being “over 40” is a funny thing. It’s clarified for me that there are things in life that I still want to do. Priorities that I still want to… well, prioritize. And if any of that is to happen, then it needs to come from me.
I spent much of my last decade being passive about my life. After an abrupt career transition when I was 30, I decided to park it in my new job. My ambition sort of melted away, and as our family kept growing, I rationalized more and more the necessity of my new career—we needed the money, I needed the job, that was basically it. But all of that was a cover for the fact that I had been wounded and didn’t really feel like playing the game anymore.
It’s still an uphill battle for me, finding the motivation to pursue the things I want.
A big part of that is the fact that I have four children, and I’m at home with them all day. This is not to say that I resent them, or the effort it takes to raise them. I often find myself wishing that I could quit my job (I telecommute) and just “parent” all day. As it is, I feel like I’m doing a half-assed job of it. “Not now; daddy has to finish this up.”
But it’s the combination of a full-time job and the emotional requirements of parenting that leave me feeling like my tank is empty at the end of every day. This thing that I’m doing now with music—getting back into practice with guitar playing (and hopefully more)—is an attempt to add something in there that refills the tank a bit.
Do I wish that I didn’t have any family responsibilities at all, so I could devote more time to my own pursuits? I’ve asked myself that question before. But my answer has always been “no, not really.” My life is richer because of my children. Immeasurably so. I couldn’t imagine a world that didn’t have them in it. And I really enjoy them as people.
I think I’m just tired. Like, on an emotional level. What I would love is to have a week to myself alone in the house. No work, no anything. I’ve been able to do that before. And I’ve found that I end up having more energy to do things around the house, and more interest in things in general.
I’ve learned enough by now to understand what that means. Being emotionally overwhelmed is draining. Which is where I live on a daily basis. But in those down times when I haven’t been wiped out from emotional exhaustion, I get to see what I’m really like, or what I could be like. It’s a lot more enjoyable to be that person. The trick for me is to tip the scales a bit more from “stressed out all the time” to something that feels more human.
Because it really does take a toll on me. I can feel it. It’s like the engine is being revved too high, but the car is still in park. I’ve written before about anxiety, and I’m sure that that is a big part of this. And I am trying to take some steps to address that. But I guess I’m still writing about it now because it’s still very much affecting me now.
My hope is that the guitar will help. Not as a therapeutic tool, but because it’s something I love doing. And because “something I love” is the direction I want my life to take. Better to learn this at over-40 than never at all, right?