Monday, August 04, 2008

Past Imperfect

I went to my 20-year high school reunion over the weekend. For the most part it was not that great an experience. But an impromptu session on Saturday morning has left me examining my past with a new perspective.

I was a "choir junkie" in high school. We had a terrific teacher who had put together one of the most successful programs in the state. I blossomed there in a way I never had in junior high school band. By the time I graduated I wanted to be a choir teacher, just like Mr. Bowman.

It took me seven years of college to finally realize that deep down I didn't want to teach after all.

One of my classmates had arranged a casual get-together with our choir teacher, who is now retired after a 35-year career. It was a thoroughly enjoyable visit in ways the official reunion the night before hadn't been. But during the visit I came to a realization that took 20 years to reach.

I could never have been a music teacher like Mr. Bowman. I lacked sufficient self-esteem and self-discipline, as well as a concern for others. I still do. I loved music. I loved making music. But that wouldn't have been enough.

The career I'm in now is not without its drawbacks, but it's much better than what I might have had if I had stuck with music. Just where I might have ended up it's rather pointless to speculate. But I doubt it would have been pretty.

But I wouldn't trade my high school choir memories--and my subsequent college career--for anything.

No comments: