Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Stay in touch with your passions
Throughout the course of my career, I've recognized something I have done a terrible job at: I've let go of the things in life that I enjoy doing the most. I have let my career and insane schedule be an excuse for not doing the things I love to do.
I love to play guitar. I took guitar lessons and played guitar for several years when I was young. I got to a point where I was considered to be pretty talented. And, unfortunately, as I went through my "too cool" years in my late teens, I gave it up.
My New Year's resolution three years ago was to start playing guitar again. I bought a new acoustic guitar and a self-teach guitar book. And like many resolutions, I didn't follow through with it. I have yet to begin playing again.
I love to play pool, or as some say I should call it, billiards. I would spend hours in local pool halls competing aggressively with friends and strangers. I thoroughly enjoyed it and still appreciate a game now and then, although I'm a bit rusty.
I love baseball. I played baseball in local leagues from the time I was 5 until I was 13. Once again, the "too cool" teen years got in the way, and I gave up that passion. Still, I love a pickup game of home run derby with friends. I love watching baseball and enjoy the intricacies of the game more than any other sport.
I'm embarrassed to say that I have lost touch with all of my passions. I have failed to allocate time in my life dedicated to things other than working and taking a break from work. And, fortunately, thanks to a little nudge, that has changed.
This past Wednesday, my wife told me she had a surprise for me and I had to be home at 5:30 p.m. That may not sound like a big deal, but it's rare for me to get home so early. When I got home, I was told we had to leave right away and that? she was driving. We proceeded to a parking spot in downtown Manchester and she asked me to pay the parking meter. As I returned from the meter, I noticed she was holding my guitar case. At that point it all started to come together. But it gets better.
She walked me into Ted Hebert's Music School on Elm Street, and we took the elevator to the fourth floor. We walked into a room and standing there was Roy D'Innocenzo, my guitar teacher that I took lessons from more than 24 years ago. I was floored. My wife conspired with my mother, who gave her his first name. Thanks to the Internet, she typed "Roy, Guitar, Manchester" into Google and tracked him down.
Roy D'Innocenzo is a legend in the music community in Manchester. Roy earned his degree in music education from Northeastern University and has been teaching for more than 35 years. He's played in numerous bands and teaches at his home studio as well as Ted Hebert's Music School in Manchester. He's also the director of the SNHU Guitar Ensemble.
As a kid, I remember bringing in cassette tapes to my music lesson in the basement of Belisle Music. Roy would play my song of choice, write out the music for me, and he'd teach me the song. That was my lesson each week. It made me fall in love with music and fall in love with guitar. I'd spend hours playing every day and there was nothing I enjoyed more. And here I was, 24 years later, taking lessons from Roy again.
We all have passions. And if you're anything like me and a lot of others I know, we also have a lot on our plates both personally and professionally. It's very easy to put aside the things you love to make room for what you consider to be more important. I've learned the hard way that if you do that, you'll get caught in a routine that lacks the time to do the things you love to do. And you'll likely stay in that routine until something or someone forces you out of it.
I'm thankful my wife recognized this and gave me the push I needed to get back involved with something I truly love. And moving forward, I will be sure to not let the things I love most in life get pushed aside. I hope you are able to do the same.
Christopher Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.