you dreams come true in extraordinary ways.” -Jo March, Little Women: The Musical
This past week, I got to have the experience of a lifetime. I got to check the last item off of my bucket list.
For those of you unfamiliar with the idea of a bucket list, it’s the list of things a person hope to achieve before they die. In my own practice, my bucket list was filled with things I never thought achievable. I wanted to give myself a list of things that were just outside of the realm of possibility so that I could challenge myself to keep working and fighting and growing.
The only problem is. I actually did it. I actually completed my bucket list.
Because the list you write for yourself at 13 may not actually be filled with impossibilities. But at the time, they were the biggest dreams I could dream. They were things like go to college, buy a house, get married, get a master’s degree. But more than that, they were crazy things like write a book, be in a movie, and be in a music video.
The craziest dream? Play at Carnegie Hall.
So, for those of you who don’t know, I am first and foremost, a professional musician. I’ve been playing piano for 22 years. I’ve been playing violin and viola for 17 years. I went to school to get a music degree. But never in a million years did I think I’d have the opportunity to play at Carnegie Hall. I’m simply not that good.
But Monday, I performed in the concert of a lifetime. I sat on stage and drank in the history around me. I sat where Tchaikovsky conducted the opening concert. Where Bernstein has sat. Where Perlman and Mutter and Fleming have performed. I sat on the stage where David Bowie held the first concert of the 80s. And I was in awe.
And I was humbled. That is the greatest emotion I felt. Humility. I felt overwhelmingly small as I sat surrounded by that history. I felt like I wasn’t good enough to sit where I was, and not in a demeaning way. I just felt as if there are hundreds of people who deserved that opportunity more than I did. There are people who work harder and practice more than me. Any one of them could have taken my spot, and probably played better than I did.
I am endlessly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in my life. I have had more support than any one man deserves. So rather than reflect on my shortcomings and those who deserved this opportunity more, I’m choosing to pay it forward and to lift those up around me. You never know whose life you’re affecting with your smile and your encouragement. Maybe your support is the catalyst for somebody else achieving their dreams.
Let your light shine and let it ignite others.
The Plucky Reader