The more things change, the more they don’t

The other day a song from my high school years came on the radio. I wasn’t a big Scorpions fan but I liked their music and I knew the words so I sang along. Picking up lyrics and remembering them is sort of an odd talent of mine. Go figure a writer would be interested in the words and message behind a song but I digress. As I sang along to the best of my ability I realized that the same notes I had trouble hitting when I was 17 were still problematic for me.

I probably wasn’t alone in having teenage dreams of being a rock star or some kind of singing sensation I imagine. Who hasn’t wanted to be the object of adulation for thousands of screaming fans (lots of them girls!)? It’s not as if I still hold those dreams, I’ve moved on to more realistic dreams like having all my socks match up in the clean clothes. However, as I sang, something struck me. I’ll always have trouble hitting that high C or whatever note that was. I’ll never be able to scream out the lyrics like Steven Tyler. Screaming just isn’t my forte. I’ve accepted that long ago too. And still the Scorpions’ songs exist as they did 35 years (internal shudder) ago. I’m still the same too and I’m okay with that. That wasn’t always the case though.

Part of my psyche or philosophy has always been the ingrained notion that “You can do/be whatever you want to do/be.” While I don’t want to be the bearer of discouraging words I’d sort of like to take whomever bored that into my skull out behind the woodshed for a good whuppin! Because, no, you can’t do whatever you want to do, as much as you’d like to. We all have limitations just as we all have gifts. I have the quirky talent for remembering lyrics but I can’t remember Organic Chemistry worth a crap. My wife can’t remember number sequences (phone numbers, addresses, etc) but somehow I can. On the flipside, I once forgot what day of the week we were married. (Guys, don’t EVER do this and certainly don’t ADMIT to it if you do) But she remembers what she wore and where we went on our second date. The point is we’re all fearfully and wonderfully made, to paraphrase from the bible, and maybe, just maybe, I’m finally mature enough to accept that. (My level of maturity is always a dicey proposition)

Just as I’ve learned over the years that I will not be a singing sensation or rock star; I’ve learned to be comfortable with my voice and not try to make myself sound like someone else. That applies to singing just as it applies to the message I put out there into the world and the image I try and project to others. I’ve learned to stop trying to make myself something I’m not and to own it. I’ve accepted I’m not “handy” around the house but I am innovative. I credit growing up on the farm mostly for this. Sometimes when you’re presented with a problem and all you have are a pair of pliers, a lag bolt, a screwdriver and baling wire you have to improvise. Even today, in my job in insurance, I use these skills to resolve problems. It helps that I work in agriculture insurance so these folks often get my “logical” solution but it works all the same.

I don’t know if you need permission to be okay with not being able to do everything. Or if you’re still trying to make you (a square peg) fit into a round hole. Just know that as far as I’m concerned and as far as I’ve learned, it’s just fine to admit you can’t do something. In fact, it’s probably healthier. When you can’t hit that note, don’t sweat it. That lead singer probably can’t change a tire or make a roast or raise children to save his life.

Getting comfortable in your own skin and with your limitations can take some time. I hope this helped you get closer to that if you’re not already there. If you know someone that might take some comfort in this message, please share it with them.

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