For any parent who’s lamented not pursuing a long-shelved hobby, there’s good news: Your ship hasn’t sailed. Her’s how to harness your inner child and learn something new as a grown-up - plus teach your kids something in the process. By Wensdy Von Buskirk
Ever since I was little, I’ve wanted to play piano. Growing up, I just never got the chance. Ever the encourager, my husband bought me an upright digital piano soon after we married. For a long time, it just sat there. I barely dabbled at it through the births of our two children. I insisted I was going to use it someday as my in-laws struggled to move the beast into our new home. Years later, it still stared at me from its corner, reminding me of my unfulfilled intention, as well as how I might be letting my husband down.
Finally, I committed to lessons.
Now, two years in, I’m working my way through the second Adult Piano Adventures lesson book and tackling some standards on the side. While it was humbling to be the only adult at spring recital, outplayed by kids in elementary school. It meant a lot when a fellow grown-up came up to tell me I was “brave” and shared that she had always wanted to play the guitar.
I encouraged her to give it a try.
Learning a musical instrument is a long road, and, as a busy working parent, it can be hard to carve out time. But I love it. With my family’s support, I plan to stick with it and enjoy the journey as I go along.
I hope, in my own small way, I’m showing my kids how to inch toward goals, one painstaking practice at a time, as well as nudging other adults to give their own dreams a try.
Build your brain
According to experts, it’s never too late to learn something new.
Research into brain plasticity shows that the organ never stops changing, creating new pathways and links, strengthening like a muscle in the regions that are regularly exercised. The key is to consistently challenge the brain by doing new and stimulating tasks.
So it’s actually healthy to get out of ruts and study something new - like reading music, tackling computer code, adopting a foreign language or learning to sew.
Yet as an adult, learning is a choice, and it can be heard to prioritize.
So many parents I know - myself included - are more than willing to invest lots of time and money into activities for our kids, but it’s harder for us to justify the cost of enriching ourselves.
There are many obstacles, sure. Guilt over spending time away from kids. Stress of adding to an already packed schedule. Self-doubt over our own abilities or age.
“If we don’t feed our own souls, then it is difficult to nourish our kids, “ Marilyn Floyd
My piano teacher, Marilyn Floyd in Brighton, has been teaching for 19 (now 20) years. Currently, she says, only two of her 40 students are adults.
“I find adults don’t stick with lessons because of finances and time. Kids’ activities always takes precedence.” she says, “Or, work schedules get in the way.”
Still, Floyd - herself a mom of four who bakes, blogs, does yoga and recently took up knitting - says she encourages other adults to pursue passions all their own.
“If we don’t feed our own souls, then it is difficult to nourish our kids, “ she says.
(Meet other parents who are making their dream hobbies come true -- at last. @ METROPARENT.COM, November 2016 issue)
In full disclosure, Wensdy has taken a few months off of her piano journey to open and manage her own Pure Barre Studio in West Bloomfield.