I’ve lived an enjoyable, yet measured and cautious, life in my 28 years. Saved and planned and made practical decisions. The past year makes it feel moot — like living in the moment is the only way to live. The saving and planning and tedium seem silly when you only have one life and it’s a very finite amount of time.
Is this temporary coronavirus-induced insanity, or is this a glimmer of the truth that I’ve been too preoccupied to see?
Wanderlust: Seems like it’s a blast of truth, and a good one. You’re 28 and you’ve saved up. When you’ve met the public-health requirements for wherever you’d like to go, go for it … whatever “it” you can make happen. You can start making plans today, and you can start learning French today.
What a perfect age for this epiphany to hit, no?
One bit of caution in the form of a compliment: Not everyone has the patience or discipline that you've had for the “planning and tedium” aspect of life — and the ones who do often reap rewards in the form of more living in more moments. Not that wealth is the only way to live abroad or become an artist, but I'm guessing it would be a lot harder for you to be thinking of these things now had you not been so “measured and cautious” before. It might not be good as one's only approach to living, but as a component of a full life, it can be empowering.
Dear Carolyn: I began playing piano as an adult and am now at an early intermediate level. So, not that great. I try to practice about 45 minutes a day.
My next-door neighbor has sent two emails asking me not to practice because it bothers her husband, who works at home. My “bad” piano playing is making him crazy.
I said I need to practice for my own well-being but changed my practice time to 8 p.m., so as not to interfere with the workday. The neighbor is still unhappy. Am I the bad guy?
— Early Intermediate
Early Intermediate: No. Imagine, for the sake of argument, that you really really didn’t like your neighbors’ taste in music. Would you email them to insist they never play it? In their home? Ever? And do you think they would they be okay with that?
You have a right to reasonable noise-making. Forty-five minutes is quite modest, and you've been accommodating with the time.
I say you continue to be as kind as possible and tell them you will keep practicing your music for 60 minutes a day (give them room to feel like it’s a gift when you quit after 45). Then say you’re happy to work with them in figuring out the least disruptive time.