I just bought a guitar. The decision wasn’t totally out of the blue, although it wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, either.
I’ve always enjoyed music. I took piano lessons when I was in grade school, and I played French horn in the band from sixth grade through high school. I bought a guitar during my freshman year in college – inspired by a girl in my dorm who played the guitar and offered to teach me a few chords, and the fact that there was a music store just down the street from where we lived.
I never excelled at any of these instruments, but I enjoyed them while I had them. Real life got in the way after I graduated from college, but I’d still pick up my guitar every once in a while, or sit down at the piano we bought when we lived in Colorado. Less and less as the years went by, but still every so often.
I finally sold my guitar at a garage sale, although I regretted it five minutes after someone bought it – which was about five minutes after the garage sale started. And I very sadly said goodbye to our piano as we downsized in preparation for our move to Georgia two years ago.
The previous owner of the house we now live in was a musician who often performed – singing and playing guitar – at local venues, and at neighborhood gatherings. Even though he no longer lives in the area, his influence does. In the short time we’ve been here, we’ve attended several parties where guitars, microphones, and karaoke machines have been front and center. Another neighbor, who’s also a talented singer and guitar player, told me not long ago that he was in his 50s before he started playing the guitar, after being inspired by and learning from the guy who used to live in our house.
That’s when I got the bug. And the guitar.
I’m now relearning chords and rebuilding calluses on my fingers. I’m watching YouTube videos – which hadn’t been invented yet when I was in college – and learning or relearning things like strumming patterns, picking techniques, and the three chords that launched a thousand songs.
I’m feeling a bit impatient and frustrated as I struggle with chords that I know how to play, but that my fingers don’t want to. And with the amount of time it takes me to switch from one chord to another. And with how quickly I can drop a pick into the soundhole of the guitar, but how long it takes me to shake it back out again.
But then I remind myself that I am, for all intents and purposes, a beginner, and I can’t expect that right out of the gate I’d be able to keep up with the pros – either in the videos or in my neighborhood – who have been playing for years.
I know that will come in time. I also know I am making progress, because my fingertips hurt as I was typing this blog post, letting me know that the time I spend practicing the guitar is producing results, even if it doesn’t seem that way yet.
Most of all, I know that it’s never too late to start – or restart – doing something that gives us joy.
April 12, 2019
©Betty Liedtke, 2019
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