It wasn’t that I particularly liked playing the flute. I liked that I could play it, sure; I liked the easy way my fingers rose and fell over the keys, the way I could instinctively relax into a perfect embouchure, particularly when a non-flutist could pick up the instrument and produce little more than puffing sounds. It was like knowing a secret language.
Besides that, I’d played the flute since fourth grade. I played my mother’s flute, a dark-silver-colored one whose hue gave it away as a relic of the past. My parents had spent probably thousands of dollars over the years for my private lessons, and selecting band as one of my electives had always been a no-brainer. My friends were in band.
And now I was thinking about giving it all up, and the thought of quitting was giving me panic attacks.
I wanted to be in journalism so much I could hardly breathe when I thought about it. I wanted to write and talk about writing and meet other writers, I wanted to work on the school paper and write about things in the real world and things just in our school’s world, and the only reason I wouldn’t was that it meant I would no longer have room in my schedule for band.
I didn’t even like band anymore. I was tired of the songs, the practicing, the sitting and waiting while other sections were practicing. I no longer got that flutter of anticipation when new songs were introduced. I no longer cared about concerts or who came or what we played.
But I--a person who saved winter formal boutonnieres tacked to my bulletin board, who’d never thrown away a birthday card and who still kept in touch with friends from preschool--couldn’t give it up. It was that I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, who had funded my lessons, or my relatives, who adored hearing me play flute, or my friends, who were going to stay in band.
It was that I saw myself as a flutist.
It was that I hated change.
It was that I was afraid to do something I so badly wanted because it meant I would have to let something else go.
The epilogue is that I made the choice; I dropped band, I quit the private lessons, and I threw myself into working on the school paper. It was probably the single best choice I made in high school.
This month, I dare you to let go of something--something big, something small, something you barely even noticed was there--to make room for something else. Whether that something else is a huge, long-cherished dream or simply a little more extra closet space, let it go.
And then tell us all about it.
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