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Thursday, October 02, 2003

Juggling Life

The hardest thing about life is making the time to do all of the things you should be doing. As much as I try to juggle everything, a few things are going to fall to the ground. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be picked up and tossed around at some point in the future.

All of this becomes an even bigger problem during the playoffs for a baseball fan. Priorities change. Just about everything in life was put on hold last night as Boston met Oakland in the first game of the American league division series. Just let me say that it was one of the best darn baseball games I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch—a bases loaded walk-off bunt with two outs in the 12th inning won it for the A's. Oakland’s manager Ken Macha said it best, “Shame on anybody who missed it.”

Between great baseball games I like to think that I work pretty hard at the various things that I do that help me to become the kind of person I would like to be when I grow up.

I studied jiu-jitsu for a few years and got pretty good at it. I literally beat my brains out to learn it but since moving to Seattle I haven’t given it much thought. I got together last week with a friend who is about at my level to work through some techniques. It felt great to put on my gi and roll around on the mat. My basic fighting skills are still pretty high, but I have forgotten a lot of the Japanese terminology (Tai Otoshi? What the hell is that?) as well as a lot of the more esoteric nuances of judo and jiu-jitsu. I don’t really care to get back into martial arts to any serious degree, but I also don’t want to forget everything I spent so many years learning.

For the past three weeks or so my piano has served as a laundry hamper. I haven’t played a single note. I came home last night and leaned over the laundry basket on the piano bench and played a section of a Goldberg Variation. I was listening to some piano music on the stereo at the time. This made me realize that my piano is out of tune—yet another excuse not to practice. I thought about sitting down and playing but I decided to read instead.

I suppose that I am writing this to shame myself into getting back into the groove of playing piano again. I never used to have this problem when I first started about six years ago. My enthusiasm was absolutely boundless even though I was really bad at it. I think my overly-competitive nature got the better of me with the piano; I just felt like I wasn’t getting any better—or at least not better fast enough. I don’t know why this bothered me. I’m not really that good at anything else.

Playing the piano, even at my level, is certainly better than ignoring this huge instrument that dominates my small apartment. This is also true of the foreign languages that I have learned to varying degrees of imperfection--Spanish being the only one I use regularly. Perhaps my eclecticism (dilettantism?) is a defense mechanism. I can rationalize not being very good at one thing because I spend too much time doing so many other things.

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