A gypsy, a poet, a baker, a king? Might I have been any of these things? A fascinating question, and similar to one that was posed in my Task List for last week’s The Artist’s Way assigment. “If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?” we were asked to consider. Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way, declared that she would be a pilot, a cowhand, a physicist, a psychic, a monk. She suggested that we “not think too carefully, just write down whatever came to mind.” So, off the top of my head, I wrote down dancer, teacher, doctor, singer, race car driver. The only one that really surprised me on the that list was doctor – I simply can’t stand the sight of any blood!
Truthfully, I rarely consider this kind of question. I don’t know if that means I’m not creative, or unmotivated, or just plain unimaginative. Maybe it’s a sign that basically I’m pretty satisfied with what I turned out to be – wife, mother, musician, writer, friend. My existence seemed pre-destined. My parents were grade school sweethearts, I was born smack in the middle of the baby boom generation, and followed society’s well laid plan for a girl child raised in the 60’s.
The pivotal instance that set my life in motion has to be the day my friend Lisa arranged for me to study piano with her teacher. Only 13 years old at the time, during my first year of study, my lesson was scheduled right before my teacher’s star pupil, a 15 year old boy. Occasionally, I would stay behind long enough to hear him play the first few bars of the Chopin Military Polonaise or Brahms Requiem. I was totally enthralled with a teenage boy who could play music with such love and passion. Within the next few years, we began playing duets together. By the time I was 17 and he was 19, we were quite seriously in love. And when I was 20 – you guessed it. Reader, I married him.
So of course my life would have been completely different had I not gone to that first piano lesson. Not only would I not have my husband, I wouldn’t have my son. Nor would I have music, at least not in the capacity I now do. I would likely have stuck to writing, which was my first passion in life, finished my four years of college, and maybe become a journalist, or even a full fledged hippie (I was a little radical back in the early 70’s!).
But rather than feel excited or tempted by “what might have been,” I feel more than a little frightened. How perilous is life, and how often we make decisions that lead us to life altering events without even knowing it. So – who might I have been? I don’t know, but I’m awfully glad I ended up being just who I am.