Journal entry from Thanksgiving day, 2012:

When my first child was born, I had a choice: to continue working for pay and hire nannies; or to stay home and care for my babies myself. I chose the latter, knowing that when the youngest left home, I would return to school and then to a new career. A number of options attracted my consideration: lawyer, accountant, computer programmer, math teacher, nurse, engineer – all of potential interest to an analytical problem solver. But, by September 2011, when I was finally alone at home, none was yelling at me: “I am it. I will hold your interest.” I still needed to choose, to make a decision as to what to do next.

All those years, a violin had sat in its case, ignored, in a corner of our living room. It had once belonged to my mother-in-law, and before that, to her cousin and to her uncle. On an impulse, needing activity to bide my time, I decided to take ten violin lessons. That would fill the gap until Christmas, by which time I would decide on an education and career path. I did not expect anything to come of the lessons. Experience had taught me that I am not a musical person; and apparently violin was extraordinarily difficult to learn. Yet I was curious what it would feel like to try. By lesson five I was hooked.

Occasionally a lush tone would emerge from my squeaks and squawks. With time and practice, the hues enveloped me. The challenge is absorbing; the beauty, elusive; the horizon, infinite. I feel compelled. I practice every day. Every day. Every day. My husband gifts me the time and the money that it takes to learn. “It makes you happy,” he says, “and if you are happy, than I am happy, and my life is easier.” My husband is a very practical man.

Does the world need another half-baked violinist? No, it doesn’t. But then, does it need another lawyer or computer programmer? What the world does need is more beauty, more truth, more kindness and honesty. More integrity. More compelling.

I am grateful that I get to study violin.