Next month my daughter will graduate from high school, almost 30 years to the day I received my own diploma. Over the next few weeks I will devote a series of columns, "Lori Linna's Little Life Lessons." I hope that sharing what I have learned over the past three decades will help new graduates should they find themselves in a similar situation. Lesson No. 1 has to do with regrets.
Most people will agree there are no mistakes if we learn and grow from them but there is one I cannot seem to shake - it happened in the early 1980s when I was a high school band student. Every night for two years I practiced playing my flute as part of a quartet for the school's annual music competition. By the time I was a senior I was ready and excited to play the number but needed the other three musicians to complete the ensemble. One day I asked a fellow classmate if she would be willing to play the piano part of the quartet. She thought about it and indicated she would get back to me in a couple of days. A week passed without an answer so I asked her again. She reluctantly explained to me she was going to do it but with someone else. Hurt and a little miffed, this leads me to my one regret - I dropped out of band. With enough credits to graduate, dropping the class seemed to be a good idea at the time.
The thing about this is it was unusual for me to give up so easily. Typically when faced with an obstacle, my stubbornness found ways around it but not this time. I flat-out quit. I didn't look for another piano player, didn't ask my teacher for help, didn't talk to my parents or friends about it; I simply gave up. That afternoon I went home and shoved my flute up on the top shelf in my closet where it stayed for more than 20 years.
When my daughter decided to try the flute in fifth grade, I dug out my old instrument, had the keypads replaced and let her use it for lessons. She decided to stick to singing and after getting my flute back, I thought about the piece I had practiced for so many nights as a teenager. Not having the sheet music on hand, I went online and purchased it along with a piano accompaniment available on a CD. Although a bit rusty, I've gone back to playing the piece I had given up on so long ago.
Over the years I've often wondered what would have happened had I simply taken the extra step to ask for help. Maybe nothing would have come of it but perhaps the dream of playing in the quartet for the music competition would have become a reality. The lesson is because of quitting so easily, I will never know.