A few months ago, I was astonished to find my old clarinet buried under a bunch of afghans in our blanket closet.(Yes, I was a band geek in high school. Props to all the rest of you out there.) Anyway, I thought my clarinet had been lost in a house fire back in 2006, so this discovery thrilled me.
Then doubt started to settle in. I graduated high school in 2004, and by that time I had more interest in playing guitar. I literally hadn’t touched a clarinet in over 13 years. Would I be capable of making music with this relic from my past?
So I bought some new reeds and a tube of cork grease. I assembled the horn, and I googled some sheet music from my favorite Disney songs. Bam! Music began flowing out of the ancient instrument like water. Don’t get me wrong, I was definitely rusty and made mistakes. But like little soldiers, my fingers still remembered the positions drilled into them from years before. I didn’t even squeak that much. And the delight that filled my soul after such a long time is something that I’ll never forget.
People think time travel can only be found in Science-Fiction, but it’s a lie. Sitting in my room playing that clarinet transported me back over a decade. It felt like I was having a conversation with myself at sixteen. And I asked myself what in the heck took so long to come back to something I love.
Helen Keller, one of the true heroes of history, wisely taught us that “What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” And the great Toni Morrison said, “Something that is loved is never lost.” I’m grateful that this lesson has been reinforced so powerfully in my life recently.
Now, some time has gone by and I’m still playing my old clarinet. It makes me happy. It gets my creative juices flowing. And ironically, picking up an old hobby has filled me with more desire to try new things and be more adventurous. I want to have as many marvelous experiences as possible. I want to love this life and make it a part of me. I want to encourage you to do the same.
So if you’re up for a challenge, try this: take a few minutes to think about the things you have loved most in your life. Are there things that you miss? If so, it’s not too late find them again. Maybe it’s been awhile since you played a pick-up game of basketball with your friends. Maybe you used to paint, or go to the beach, or fish, or play board games. How long has it been since you read a good book just for fun? Whatever you loved when you were younger, chances are that you will love it still. You may be a little rusty and make some mistakes, but I guarantee that the joy you’ll find will surprise and delight you. So rekindle your old passions, find some new ones, and live the vibrant life.