Marching to My Own Beat

Among the lengthening list of "things I used to do" is play music. In high school, I was a Band Geek who played bass drum in the marching band and timpani in the orchestra. I also played in more than my fair share of garage bands and even a few gigs at school dances.

I was a decent drummer, even managing to play my way onto a regional orchestra as the timpanist/percussionist (woodblock and cowbell a specialty). Although I spent long hours practicing and honed a relatively decent set of technical drumming skills, I didn't have the innate talent to go farther.

I had a certain lack of passion in my playing. I loved music and I loved playing it, but I could never overcome that emotional barrier that separates those who merely learn to play from those who live to play. My drumming was tight, controlled, and I almost never played with abandon. I wasn't able to break through and let my emotions pick up where my skills left off.

I didn't frustrate me at the time, and it still doesn't for the most part. However, I'm envious of those who can break through that emotional wall. I wish that was easier for me in many things besides music.

I held onto my drums for many years after I stopped playing. My plan, like going back to college in the evenings, wasn't very successful. I kept meaning to set them up and start playing again, but I never had the room or was too busy with chores, and then there was the family. So they gathered dust until we moved. I sold them because our new house had even less space than the one we were in. When I did that, I realized that any emotional attachment I had to playing had finally flickered out. As the new owner loaded them up, I felt a little twang, but it didn’t last long.

Today, my drumming is limited to long solos on my car's steering wheel. I don't have the dexterity I did when I was 16, but I can still get a pretty good beat going. It may not have the emotional attachment it once had, but I'm also not the same person I once was.

And that, isn't necessarily a bad thing.

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Truth Told by Omnipotent Poobah, Monday, May 01, 2006

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