What musical instrument do you wish you had practiced when you were a kid so you could have been really good at it now? That's the question we pondered recently with some friends over dinner. We all lamented how we we'd be so good now, if only we had stuck with those piano, guitar, or flute lessons some 30 years ago.
It got me thinking about ten years from now, sitting around the same dinner table with the same friends. What will we wish then, that we had picked up ten years ago?
Ten years from now, ten years ago is now!
Why look back 10, 20, or 30 years from now wishing you had taken the time to learn an instrument, a foreign language, or a creative art? What subjects do you wish you had studied in college if only you weren't so busy learning something so boring as accounting? What countries would you have liked to have visited while you were still healthy enough to travel? Which sports do you wish you had spent more time playing?
Now is the time. Ten years from now I want to say, "I'm so glad I played more tennis, I got so much better and it's kept me in such good shape!" I want to say, "That was so great how I brushed up on my Spanish and spent that month practicing while traveling in Spain." I would like to say, "how fun it is it that now I can play songs on the piano that all my friends can join in singing to at parties."
It's too easy to fall for the idea that it's too late, if you didn't do it while you were younger, you missed your chance. No matter how many years you have in front of you, don't let your future self look back on your current self and wonder why you didn't do something that you always wished you could have done.
I just went through the very same thing.
Backpacking through Italy, bambino, here I come! Just got my reservations confirmed today, emailed my Italian relatives and I will be spending Christmas (Natale) at the Vatican! I plan on spending the next 10+ years backpacking through Europe.
Posted by: morrison | July 16, 2009 at 02:36 PM
There must be something in the air, huh? I'm glad to hear you're booked. No regrets for you!
Posted by: Retired Syd | July 16, 2009 at 04:46 PM
It's easy to wish that you'd done all of the hard work to learn a skill when you were younger. I often wish that I learned to play piano, but I'm happy that I spent my childhood playing outside! There really isn't anything that you can't just start at now!
Posted by: kasey at thriftylittleblog | July 16, 2009 at 07:39 PM
This is how I live/think. In the future. Your future always become the present. Anyway ... in 10 years, probably closer to 5, I am going to be a black belt. Beyond that, it's very hazy.
Posted by: Early Retirement Extreme | July 16, 2009 at 10:59 PM
I meant, Aside from that.
I'm still trying to figure out exactly which of several projects of this early retirement stage that will win in the long run.
Posted by: Early Retirement Extreme | July 16, 2009 at 11:00 PM
@Kasey: I really like that perspective: instead of wishing that I had practiced harder on the piano, just relishing how much fun it was to be a kid. Very good point! Maybe you're on to something.
Posted by: Retired Syd | July 17, 2009 at 12:11 PM
About 18 months ago, just after my 58th birthday, I began taking violin lessons. I'd never played any instrument and didn't know how to read music, either, but I'd listened to classical music all my adult life. I had made sure my girls had the opportunity to play music, but it was my turn. Now, my violin teacher is preparing me for an audition for our local community orchestra in another few months, something I hadn't dreamed of doing. Maybe I'll play second violin for that local orchestra or maybe I won't be good enough to do that, but even to audition for an orchestra will be a dream that I never thought of fulfilling.
Posted by: Linda | July 19, 2009 at 05:34 AM
@Linda: Wow, that is just great!
Posted by: Retired Syd | July 19, 2009 at 08:06 AM
Years ago, a client of mine--poor, black, with four kids--was putting herself through college a few credits at a time. Her goal was a law degree, which she expected to have by age 50. She made it even though it took her nearly 15 years. What I remember most is her saying, "No matter what I do, I'm gonna be 50 years old in 15 years. But this lady's gonna be 50 AND a lawyer in 15 years!"
As for myself, I still want to write the Great American Novel.
Posted by: Grace | July 20, 2009 at 01:42 PM
@Grace: That reminds me of when my uncle was offered an incredible job in Tokyo for 4 years. He kept telling us, "I don't know, I'm 58 years old, four years in Tokyo, I'm too old, aren't I?"
My cousin asked him how old he would be in 4 years when he got back. He said 62. She said "how old will you be in 4 years if you don't go to Tokyo?" Still 62.
He went, loved it, and stayed 6 years!
Posted by: Retired Syd | July 20, 2009 at 01:51 PM
Chinese proverb: "The Best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now."
Posted by: Mrfirestation | January 23, 2016 at 08:15 AM