Monday, April 6, 2009

Late-Bloomer or Early Achiever?

Were you an early achiever, or are you a late bloomer? Please share your story.

Here's mine...
I am a late bloomer. I only began warming up in the later years of high school and college, due to illness, family and monetary problems. I had always wanted to take some type of music lessons, join the Girl Scouts, etc., but lack of money prevented me from following these dreams. Due to a long-term childhood illness, I was restricted from physical activity. So, a friend of my mom's gave me her old guitar, and I taught myself how to play chords. Another friend of hers paid for art lessons at a local museum. I was also allowed to join the percussion section of the elementary school orchestra, even though I couldn't read music. It was there I began to learn how to read music. Then, I had an awesome music teacher in 7th grade, but we moved across country 3/4 through the school year.

When in my new digs, I didn't have the same opportunities in either art or music until high school, although I did have a brief and unremarkable stint as a cheerleader in eighth grade. During freshman year, I joined the church choir and the school glee club. I learned quite a bit from the music director at school, who had no problem challenging us to sing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, or various a capella pieces while expecting us to stay on key throughout each piece. I became fairly proficient at sight-singing and singing harmony, even improvising a bit. Once in a while, when improvising at home, I used to sing off-key purposefully just to razz my mom.

Once I started college, though, aside from music theory, and a course each in sight singing, voice and piano, I was still essentially a beginner in all. I had also been extremely busy working all through both high school and college to pay for my tuition, holding down two part-time jobs during the semester and one full-time and one part-time job during summer vacation. There was no extra time or money for more music lessons.

As for art, I took classes in drawing, graphic design and photography at college. I worked hard to develop both my eye and visual thinking, and continued taking classes long after I got my degree. I graduated in 3-1/2 years with honors. However, music went by the wayside for decades, as did art after I moved away from my second home-town.

Now, I expend most of my energy just to get through my workday. I still have grand aspirations to buy camera equipment and learn a new instrument, along with taking music lessons in guitar, piano and voice. Of course, money is an issue, as well as my draining job. When I do have energy after work, I write poetry, essays, and this blog, as writing takes little physical energy. So, now I want to work on art, music and writing. I wish humans didn't need sleep, as this would solve the time issue, at least.

I feel like I'm ready to soar creatively, and hope to use my summer vacation to work on my creative pursuits. There are so many wonderful connections among all the arts, that maybe I'll create multi-media pieces and use them to create positive change. All of this, of course, can make someone crazy. Yet I just read the following quote today on, posted by Roland Garrison: "Sanity is the refuge of those who have chosen not to exceed their limits. Use it as a launch point, not a goal." He is so right! So, I say to all late bloomers: we're not crazy! We're simply, finally, reaching for our dreams...better late, than never!

So, now, what's your story?

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