I missed ten days of piano practice; ten of the fourteen I have between lessons. Sickness put me on the couch. I simply didn’t have the energy to sit at the piano and work like I usually do.
When I finally felt well enough to practice, it was not pretty. My music had slowed down and was riddled with mistakes. I had lost ground.
And I had two new pieces to learn.
That was Monday. My lesson was Friday. I was stressed and frustrated and discouraged.
I did have some options:
- cancel my lesson
- practice ten hours a day
- practice my usual amount: 2 – 4 hours each day
- have my scheduled lesson
I began my practice on Monday — and my pondering about what to do. I also checked my expectations:
- I always prepare well
- I want to play my best at my lesson; perfect would be nice
- I don’t want to disappoint my teacher — or myself
I am my own worst enemy. I know that. My friends remind me that I am hard on myself and have self-imposed, high, perhaps unreasonable, expectations. I need their gentle reminders to keep me sensible about such things.
By that evening I had decided to go to my regularly scheduled Friday lesson.
Three things influenced my decision:
- I can’t make up for lost time, even if I practice ten hours a day
- I can only do what I can reasonably do
- I always learn a lot at my lesson, regardless of how I play
I showed up at my lesson at 11:25 Friday morning. My playing was o.k., but certainly not stellar. We slowly worked our way through the new pieces and discussed what’s needed to finish two others.
Here’s the point. We spend time and energy fretting over lost hours or days or weeks, or even years. We had hoped things would be different at this particular point in our life. We have our regrets.
Oh, that we could gather those lost times in a basket, bring them to now, and do it right this time. What a great opportunity that would be! But what would happen to our present time if we overlaid it with our past times that we need to use? The cycle of wasted opportunities and hours would just begin again.
Here are some suggestions about how to get past our lost times:
Start now. Set your regrets aside. Remember, do-overs are not an option. Start with tiny steps to use this time well. Then begin. It’s not too late.
Use the wisdom of your regrets. What have you learned from the time and opportunities you’ve lost or ignored or squandered? Check your expectations, your wishful thinking, and the life stuff that pushes you off track. You can make changes.
Show up — now.
Do your work — now.
Claim your life — now.
Until next Tuesday . . .