You’ve probably all heard some version of the story: Jason wants to learn to play the violin. But at his school, it’s cooler to play football, so he does. He’ll learn violin once he goes to college. In college, though, he has to study and party. He’ll learn the violin when he graduates. Then, of course, he has a job that takes up his time. Then he gets married, and it doesn’t seem quite right to leave his new bride to take violin lessons. Then he has kids, and they need lessons themselves. He never forgets the violin but decides that he’ll take lessons when he retires. Then on the day of his retirement party, Jason is hit by a car as he’s crossing the road. (Cue the violin music.)
The moral is that life is uncertain; take advantage of the present moment to achieve your dreams. But I think the message needs refining a bit: There are very few perfect moments to work on your goals and dreams. But there are lots of “good-enough” moments to work on them.
As often happens, my inspiration in this area comes from the students here. Last week, I attended the reception and reading of Think, NSCC’s journal dedicated to critical thinking. I was impressed with the quality of the student essays, but I was also impressed by the fact that the essays were written at all. These students, like many community college folks, have spouses, children, jobs, and various adult tribulations. This was probably not the perfect time for any of them to contribute to a journal. Yet they did.
If our mythical Jason had taken advantage of the small times that were not perfect but good enough, he might have died with one less regret. The “good-enough” times may be all we get, but, if we take advantage of them, they can be enough.