Nothing renews my enthusiasm and reminds of my imperfections like trying something new. As children, we encounter new people, places, and tasks almost every day. We learn new skills and experience new flavors, sights, and smells. Fortunately, the world is a big, complicated place. Even grown-ups can run into new things almost daily if their eyes are open. New words. New faces. New designs. New foods. But actually learning a new skill can be really difficult for an adult. We are used to feeling a sense of control, the comforting sense of accomplishment that comes with doing a job we’ve had for years or a hobby that we’ve been nurturing since childhood. We don’t always embrace our mistakes as learning opportunities. We don’t recognize falls as opportunities to learn how to get up.
So in order to keep the childlike ability to accept the mistakes that come with learning (and just for the fun of it!), I love to give new things a try. For a few years, I took violin lessons (a childhood dream), but the time and expense became too much with two little boys to care for and a doctoral program to complete. I’ll get back to it someday. But I love to make music, so in the beginning of February I joined the church’s bell choir. I confess: I’m not entirely new to hand bells. I played in a “two girl” duet in the sixth grade. We only stayed together for a few months, but I learned the basics and enjoyed the music. Being part of a bell choir has some of the attributes of being in a singing choir. The sense of teamwork and collaboration is wonderful, but if you’re singing alto in a typical choir, you can miss a note or take a big breath during a particular bar and the piece won’t suffer. Your fellow altos cover your absence. That’s not the case in a bell choir. No one else is responsible for my “A.” I can’t count on my neighbor to remind me of my entrance. So the nervousness factor is escalated, but the ethereal twinkle of a bell choir is so uplifting and the energy of the music so contagious that I can’t help but enjoy myself. The rehearsals are a lot of fun. The hour flies.
And here are a couple of photos of another “something new.” My hubby and I took a brief necklace-making class at the Knit & Crochet Festival in February. I love that the focal point is a vintage clip-on earring.