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September 29, 2015


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I love the 10,000 hours studies. But one wouldn't have to achieve full mastery necessarily. So 1/4 mastery has got to be really satisfying I would think.

ron manuel

I agree about the SF Jazz Center. I had close-in seats for Rosanne Cash a couple of years ago. There's not a bad seat in the venue.

So say we get in the 10,000 hours of practice. So what if I'm really good at something finally at age 80. I can't take it with me. I can't pass it on to anyone else. I can't leave anything behind. We need to convince our children to do it from age 25-45 so they can enjoy the accomplishment for the next 35 years. But they're too busy with their lives, and don't want it badly enough. It seems it is not until close to retirement that you have the perspective to see what you should have done decades earlier.


I completely understand the conundrum. I am late to the game in learning 1) a foreign language, 2) an instrument, and 3) a new-to-us outdoor physical pursuit. It's very, very hard to carve out time on a daily basis to pursue all three, because there are so very many other things calling out for my time. So I content myself with about 30 minutes each for the first two, and an hour a day for the third, about three times that on the weekends.

But here's the thing - I don't beat myself up 'what if'ing' about not starting any of them sooner. I was doing other things with my time when working, I wasn't wasting it. Now, in retirement, I can finally dive into these things, and it's totally OK if my mastery of them is lesser than had I started them in my 20's. It's still fun! Plus, in my 20's, other equally fun things were calling my name instead.

So just enjoy the journey regardless of how far up the track you get. I'll bet if you asked her, Hiromi has goals still not achieved, as perfection is a role we thrust upon someone, rarely a role they slip on themselves.

Retired Syd

Aery, ron, Tamara: All good points! But now that I'm thinking about it, it's not really so much that I want to master piano for others, or for the sake of mastery. It's that I want to be able to express myself through the music the way someone like Hiromi does. And right now (and for the foreseeable future along the path to 10,000 hours), I'm not able to do that. So it's frustrating. That's what makes me want to get better. Wanting to express myself that way.


Hey, I'm sure you will be playing jazz on your 80th, Sydney, and I so love how you think out loud! Here's to finishing your 10K!😘👏🎹🎶


It's all a matter of priorities and personally I always leave the option open to just do nothing at any given time. After the pressures and demands of having to do so much while working, now I embrace the quote - "Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time". I keep that as number one on every daily to do list!

Retired Syd

Mary: So glad to hear from you! And YES--even with a only tiny fraction of the energy you have, I'll bet I can get there! (And we need to get you over here to tell us all about Bali!)

Retired Syd

Steve: Oooh, I like that one!


Syd, I recently retired and am waiting for you to write your retirement
Book. Great reviewing your blog! Retirement is scary and going into unknown waters is Not Comfortable. Thanks for taking your time to share your experience and knowledge. I would love
To start a support group in Cleveland. Any suggestions for a great retirement book to begin with?

Tom Sightings

I understand your frustration completely. It can be dispiriting for anyone who wants to learn something new at our age -- altho' you're younger than I am, so you have a few more hours to spare. Anyway, all I can say is ... better late than never!


So I love your conundrum, as you put it. The therapist in me says this is a cost-benefit-analysis problem. If the benefit you want is to express yourself through jazz piano, the practice comes at a cost -- to other things. The benefit is you practice more but the cost is you take the time from other pursuits as in you learn to speed clean your house or have your husband do half the gardening, just for example. Trust that if it is important to you, you'll find a way. I doubt no one ever said as they passed from life that they wished they'd cleaned more.

Retired Syd

Jacqueline: Thanks! Well my two favorite retirement books are Ernie Zelinski's "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free" and Nelson/Bolles "What Color is Your Parachute for Retirement."
Tom: I know, I'm so jealous of kids--they can learn things so much more easily. But then again, they don't want to, so then they grow up to wish they had learned it as a kid!
Gail: I think the other thing is that you have to have a certain level of faith that all your practice is actually going to turn into something. Those activities with long-term payoffs are sometimes harder to engage in than things that give instant gratification like cleaning the house (really!)

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