Witherbee's Carriage House, a local restaurant with a bar upstairs, hosts a number of local bands on weekend nights. On Thursdays they have open mic night. A Schroon Lake singer/songwriter runs it, making sure everyone gets a turn at the mic.
This evening, my niece, who just finished her freshman year in high school, brought her electric guitar to open mic night, got herself plugged in, and played and sang three songs. She did really well. No, it was not perfect, but there are some things we need to take into account. First, she has never had a guitar lesson. She is completely self-taught. Second, before tonight, she never sang into a microphone. Third, she is FIFTEEN YEARS OLD, and she was brave enough to get up in front of a room full of much older and very experienced musicians, many of whom have been paid to sing into a microphone.
I cannot count the times in my life when I missed out on chances to try things for the first time because I wasn't brave enough to risk not being perfect the first time. I've missed opportunities to talk to someone famous because I didn't think I would have anything to say. I have three lifetimes worth of bucket list items because I didn't just do things when I had the chance.
Yes, I have taken a few risks in my time. Every now and then I try something new. But more often I don't, and I wonder sometimes who I might have been as an adult if I had been braver when I was younger. Or who I would be today if I had been braver last month.
My niece and I were talking about a song I like. It has a drum intro, played on the bongos. I said I'd like to learn to drum so I could play that intro. She said she'd learn the guitar part so we could play together. I said we could work on it over the winter. She gave me three weeks.
I don't know if I can learn to play the bongos in three weeks. I don't even own bongos, yet. But maybe I can be brave enough to try.