Today I’ve been playing my ukulele and it got me thinking.
Almost three years ago (my birthday is tomorrow) on my 21st birthday, at the end of a long day, as I was walking in to what I knew would be a long rehearsal, my friends greeted me at the door with cake and music playing. They then handed me a brand new ukulele.
I had wanted one for a long time.
You see, even though I’ve never really wanted to pursue it, I’ve always had this little fantasy in my head about being a singer. It’s one of those things that rooted itself in my brain at a young age that I haven’t been able to shake yet. Then, when I was in high school, I started watching youtube and came to the realization that people on the internet were recording themselves singing and being discovered and becoming famous. So I made a youtube channel.
It’s silly, really.
I have only a few videos on that channel. Mostly I have it out of necessity. (Because it’s obviously a necessity that I be able to watch youtube videos whenever I want).
I already owned a guitar. I had this big idea in my head that I was going to learn how to play it or something. I have yet to attend a lesson. Mostly, it just sits in the corner of my room. I pick it up every now and then and fiddle with it. I put it back when my fingers start hurting.
I needed an instrument that was a bit easier to handle — and my ukulele dream was born.
My best friend got a bunch of my other best buds to contribute to a ukulele fund for me. She even called my mom to make sure my parents weren’t planning on getting me a ukulele for my birthday. I had no idea.
It was the first time anyone had ever planned a surprise for me.
And today, as I was playing, I thought, How great is it that whenever I play music and sing one of my favorite songs, I get to think of my friends who gave me such a sweet gift?
It’s cool that I can stumble through basically any song my heart desires. I can pick up my ukulele and start playing any time I want. It’s better than singing along to the radio in the car. It feels more productive to me.
Because, three years later I know the chords for C, G, F, A, Am, D, B, Bm, Em, E7, and a bunch of others. I can read chord charts and tablature (kind of). I put the time in to learn how to play one of my favorite instruments.
And isn’t that what getting older is all about? Recognizing the passing of time and realizing you have something to show for it?
Mostly my birthdays pass by without a lot of hoopla. Not liking to bring excessive attention to myself, I spend them eating cake and opening presents quietly. If there are plans, there are plans. If there aren’t, there aren’t. Being of legal age, I can usually count on a drink or two. This year I’ll be working.
It’s mostly just nice to know that it’s my birthday. I don’t usually need much else.
The real growth happens somewhere in between.