I learned an important lesson at the American Guild of Organists (AGO) convention. There is a story leading up to it.
The concert on Tuesday evening was at the First Baptist Church of Kalamazoo. Another concert earlier in the week was also at this church. For a different perspective, I decided to sit in the balcony. This is where I met Ellen. During intermission, Ellen shared that she had a blog. I felt excited to meet another organist that blogs! Her blog is http://sixtybysixty.tumblr.com/ and I encourage you to check it out. When Ellen was 57 she set a goal to play 60 pipe organs before she turned 60. And she did it! Her blog documents her adventure. And like me, Ellen learned to play the organ as an older adult. She was her 50’s with many years experience on the piano and is still a piano teacher.
On Wednesday, the convention was in Battle Creek, MI. Dinner was a buffet at one of the churches. When I was in the buffet line, Ellen recognized me, joined me and we decided to dine together along with a few others. Ellen and I talked more about how we got to where we are now. I shared that I had anxiety around meeting the young organists currently in college or university. They are much farther along in their abilities than me. Ellen’s words of wisdom: “Their journey is not my journey” and that is the lesson that I learned.
I should not compare myself to them. I can’t go back in time and ask my parents to provide me with organ lessons as a child. Back then, I didn’t even know I wanted to be an organist. Those in their early twenties earning degrees should be better than me. That seems logical now as they have been practicing for many more years than I have. And as Jon Acuff says “Don’t Compare your middle to someone’s middle”. Comparing ourselves to others is rarely beneficial.
Is this lesson for you too? Do you need to stop comparing yourself to others in a different phase of their journey?