Take your turn

Liz Sumner Courage, Fear, Learning 2 Comments

When I grow up I want to be bold. I want to see something I desire and go for it without hesitation. I want to trust my wisdom and not mess around with doubts and fears.

Oh wait, I am grown up. I haven’t stopped learning and growing, but I’d like to eliminate some of the tentativeness that still gets in my way.

Case in point. Several weeks ago my friend Mattia, a man I admire greatly, told me about a weekly jazz jam session at a bar near here. When we didn’t show up the first week he sought us out and reiterated that he wanted us to come. We went to check it out.

I felt shy– a certain amount was justified as it was a new place and mostly people I didn’t know. I let my timidity escalate to the point where I couldn’t understand or speak Italian as well as I’m able. Mattia was asking me if I wanted to sing and we couldn’t find a song everyone knew. The moment passed. Michael and I performed a song while the other musicians took a break. It was fine but sort of anticlimactic.

The following week we went again and met another friend there. Jan plays trombone and is comfortable sitting in with other musicians even if he doesn’t know them. I watched as he got out his horn, set up a music stand, and made a place for himself in the circle. He took his turn with the song they were playing and it sounded great.

I realized that’s what you have to do– just walk right up and take your turn. Make their acquaintance as you make the music. They started playing “Days of Wine and Roses,” one of my favorites. I went up to the band, waited for everyone to do their solo, then I took the mike and did mine. The key wasn’t great but nevertheless it was fun and I was thrilled. The next songs were instrumentals I didn’t know words to so I went back to the table.

After awhile they called me up again for “Night and Day.” Much better key this time. Great experience. All senses tingling.

We didn’t stay too long after that because it was nearly midnight and my days of late night clubbing ended after my “first third.” But I’ll be back now that I know the trick.

For my “next third” I want to cultivate more of these “Oh Wow” experiences– opportunities that come along and, if you’re willing to say yes to them, they give you great bursts of joy. Sometimes I delude myself into thinking that moments like these are serendipitous and only come out of the blue. I’m learning that we can create them with our choices. Just take your turn.

Comments 2

  1. I’m not a singer but sang with a group a few years ago. We vacationed near Vero Beach and a group got together to just jam. I was checking my email and would just sing while working on my computer. They said, “come sing with us” I sang for two seasons with them and had a ball. We sang for a few pot lucks and just enjoyed singing oldies 😉 I had never sang in front of anyone before but had a great time.

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