Reunited with my first love

So…. something big happened. Huge. Life-changing. Life-affirming. Joy-inducing.

MY HUSBAND GAVE ME A WEIGHTED KEYBOARD FOR CHRISTMAS.

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For those of you who don’t know, piano is my first love, the thing I wanted to do and play for the rest of my life. I even entertained the notion (briefly, until my piano professor disabused me of the notion my first day in college) that I would be a concert pianist. My professor’s cold truth-telling, along with my realization that, oh yeah, performing makes me anxious and nauseated, made me realize that I was destined to love playing piano but not do it professionally. It’s been my safe, happy place ever since.

But since college, I haven’t had access to a piano. I have tried. Believe me. But we’ve been moving around and pianos are expensive to ship (especially overseas). Then we moved into a long-term apartment, but it is 37 floors up, 750 square feet, has no storage, and we live in an open-air situation in a humid, windy, warm climate. The thought of hauling a piano up, squeezing it into our space, and trying to protect it from the elements made me want to take a huge nap. Also, they are really expensive and we couldn’t afford one in the first place. I’ve been really bummed not to have a piano for the last 15 years, and was simply looking forward to 3 years from now when we will be able to settle and I will finally be able to get my hands on a gorgeous instrument.

When I unwrapped the weighted keyboard over Christmas, I cried.

I was also really nervous. What if the last 15 years have eroded my hard-earned skill and nimbleness? What if I couldn’t remember how to play, or could only play the most rudimentary of pieces?

It was one of the most relieving and happy realizations of my life to find out that my finger muscle-memory is way, way stronger than my brain muscle-memory. I certainly don’t have the skill I had at my peak, but I can still play Chopin, Liszt, and some Rachmaninoff. My fingers remember the pieces I learned years ago. The pieces feel familiar under my fingers, like catching up with old friends.

I don’t know that there is a big lesson or message here, other than me being really happy to reconnect with something that meant so much to me over my most formative years, to know that maybe the best, most sincere, most meaningful things are those you don’t lose. I can finally play the piano again and I am so, so grateful.

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