My son recently graduated from university and opted to move back to the city where the school is, in the hope that beginning a life there will be more fruitful than in our small town. The problem is, he graduated with two majors and a minor — writing, theater, and theology — and doesn’t really know which one to focus on.
Meanwhile we were at a music store on Saturday where I was wandering around from room and…well…I quickly wrote him this email, which I present to you relatively unedited.
On Saturday afternoon we went back to Cosmo Music which is one of the largest musical instrument stores in the world.
We walked in the keyboard room first, and I thought, “I’m a keyboard player.” There were so many things I wanted to test out.
But then we wandered through the back and into the brass room. There was a baritone horn that reminded me so much of the one I played in the Junior Band at the church I attended all through my teens. I thought, “I’m a brass player.”
But then we went back toward the lobby and a kid was being fitted for a shoulder support for a violin, the type I should have had but never bought, and I thought, “I’m a string player.”
Next was the guitar room. I went to see what 12-strings they had; if any were like mine. “I’m a guitar player;” I told myself.
In the same area were the electric basses. Lots of five strings. Not cheap. Of course I thought, “I’m a bass player.” I want to try a 5-string sometime with a good amplifier.
But then your brother wanted to see the grand pianos upstairs. I used to work at Baldwin. They had high end instruments like this. Even the smell in the room was familiar. “I’m a piano player;” I figured I belonged in that room also.
On the way out, he asked about keyboard amps and we ended up in one of the little demo rooms. I was amazed at the things that came back to me being in that environment. I think I asked a few intelligent questions. Heck, “I’m a sound guy.”
And then it hit me.
The store was a microcosm of the choices you are now facing. You’re an actor. You’re a writer. You’re a student of philosophy and theology. There are so many choices.
But in the end, my walk around the store was a mile wide but only a few inches deep. I never really tried anything. We were there the better part of an hour and there was so much to see but I needed to just pick something and make that my focus; and if it turned out I sucked at 5-string bass, I could always come back another time and reacquaint myself with re-issued Arp Odyssey synthesizer in the keyboard room. But the arena of choices was so large that I was overwhelmed by it all, and more to the point I hadn’t gone with a specific purpose.
I know it’s hard to choose something at the expense of everything else but I would say this: Pick the most amazing thing that could happen, get on a bus, go to wherever it is people do that and walk in the door… That’s all.
Image: I believe this was taken at a guitar store in either Lansing, or Grand Rapids MI.