As so often is the case, writer Anne Lamott has said it better than I could. In a recent Facebook post, Lamott wrote
If you always dreamed of writing a novel or a memoir, and you used to love to write, and were pretty good at it, will it break your heart if it turns out you never got around to it? If you wake up one day at eighty, will you feel nonchalant that something always took precedence over a daily commitment to discovering your creative spirit?
If not—if this very thought fills you with regret—then what are you waiting for?
It’s not writing for me. I’ve got that under control. For me, it’s a flute and some yarn.
I started piano lessons when I was in fifth grade. I wanted to take up the flute then too and join the school band, but my parents wanted me to focus on one thing at a time (how boring is that?). By eighth grade I’d worn them down and my parents agreed I could join the band. There was no shortage of flute players at that time, so the band director had me learn the saxophone. I had fun in marching and concert bands, but still wanted to play the flute. I kept thinking of that for quite awhile, and suddenly I was turning 40. Then and there I asked myself “if not now, then when?” I bought a flute, found a teacher and learned the instrument.
As for the yarn, I’ve been a serviceable knitter for most of my life. Cast on, knit, purl. I’ve made scarves, prayer shawls, afghans and two sweaters. For some time now I’ve wanted to knit socks (blame it on Stephanie Pearl-McPhee and Brenda Dayne). The thought of knitting with four double-ended needles confounded me, and I quickly concluded I’d need to take a class. I’ve been looking at sock classes for at least five years, maybe more. For one reason or another I wouldn’t sign up but I’d keep searching them out. When the e-mail newsletter came out from my local yarn shop a couple of weeks ago, with the spring line-up of classes, I again asked myself “if not now, then when?” and signed up right away. I’ve had one class so far, and as the photo shows, I’m making progress.
Anne Lamott’s message is one of no regrets. It’s working for me. If you asked yourself “if not now, then when?” what would you start today?
Linda Post Bushkofsky, when not knitting or playing the flute, serves as executive director of Women of the ELCA.