Have you ever walked away from something you wanted and it left you feeling incomplete? What would it be like to go back and accomplish that nagging “incomplete” and go from incomplete to complete? I have experienced that incomplete feeling and here is what I learned.
When I was 5-years old, I took piano lessons, or more accurately, I was taken to piano lessons every week. I never liked the lessons, but I did enjoy playing the piano, especially songs that I liked. My parents would drive me to my piano lessons when I was younger, but as I grew up, I was allowed to walk. If I was late for my lesson, my teacher was very strict about not extending our lesson time. I used to intentionally go late to make sure that my lessons were as short as possible. By the time I was 13 years old, I was in grade 9 piano (and just about to start high school). My parents gave me the option of stopping piano lessons if I wanted. I quit without hesitation and thought that I would never look back.
There was, however, this one song that I always loved, but never learned how to play. It’s Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9-2. It’s a lot of left hand work in the key of E flat major which was definitely not my strength. It’s the kind of song where if you make mistakes, it sounds terrible (and trust me I made so many mistakes). The sound of those mistakes was so horrible and would make me feel so bad about myself that I never invested the time required to learn the song properly and I abandoned it for songs that required less of an investment of time and energy with a quicker return on investment. For years, every time I heard the song, (which is often as it’s a beautiful piece that is often played in movies or played in concerts) it reminded me that I couldn’t play it (failure) or more importantly that I gave up on that song (afraid of failure).
Many years passed and eventually when I moved out of our family home, I no longer had access to a piano, and I stopped playing the piano altogether. I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted to take up piano again and my husband bought me a beautiful Yamaha Clavinova. The first thing I did was make a commitment to finally properly learn to play that song. This was especially challenging because I was so out of practice. After many hours of awkward sounding notes, irregular tempos and frustration, I finally learned to play it – my finger and arms were sore but I did it!
Now every time I hear that song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGRO05WcNDk, it reminds me that I can play it too and more importantly I feel so satisfied that I made the commitment to learn it and stay with it during the challenging times when everything sounded terrible and I wanted to quit. I am reminded to never let an “incomplete” haunt me again. It made me think of all of the other incompletes in my life, the things that have stayed with me, the things I was afraid to do or try or say because it was either too difficult, or I was worried about failing or looking stupid.
Taking care of this one incomplete gave me the conviction to never let walking away from something I really want ever happen again. When there is something that I think I want, I investigate it, clarify whether I really want it, and if I do, I go for it and stay focused on the goal and the feeling I will have once I’ve achieved it. I may stumble and be awkward and fall flat on my face, but when I achieve the goal, this all becomes a pleasant memory and the success makes the rest all worth while. The success is often that much better, because achieving what I wanted was so hard.
What are the incompletes in your life? What will you regret not trying or doing? There’s nothing wrong with stopping something when you no longer want to continue, I’m talking about the other stuff where you don’t want to do it or try it because you feel like you might not be good at it, or might not succeed. I want to suggest that all of these incompletes stay with you and weigh you down eventually eroding your confidence and spirit.
What are the incompletes in your life that you want to complete? How good will you feel once you have completed them?