A lot of things in life have great meaning. The birth of a child. Marriage. The death of loved ones. But in between the hatches, matches and dispatches are a million smaller activities and events that are of little or no consequence. And yet they still matter.
Some things are significant because they are a means to an end. We go to school, earn qualifications and get jobs that enable us to buy things, go places and generally enjoy life.
There are other things we do without any greater purpose or ambition in mind. I don’t watch Game of Thrones for anything other than entertainment. I don’t blog because I have any ambitions to earn a living from it. I didn’t play competitive sports because I thought I could be world-class at any of them.
Sometimes we do things simply because we can or because they’re there. And that’s okay.
We’re approaching the end of the school year and Isaac is persevering with playing the viola. Even though he is a bit of a star academically. Even though he is also learning the piano. Even though it’s already clear he is not destined to be the next Yehudi Menuhin or Nigel Kennedy. (Yes, I know they both play the violin rather than the viola. Close enough.)
What he is, though, is competent and improving, and I am proud of the fact he is still practising reasonably diligently. Ultimately his efforts now are unlikely to have any major bearing on his future but I am proud of the fact that he didn’t just give up at the first opportunity given that he has plenty of other activities to juggle.
Sometimes the very act of doing something is enough in itself.
And sometimes, just sometimes, starting something of apparently little or no consequence can turn into something quite unexpected. I’ve written elsewhere about how dabbling around in the blogging world allowed me to build the skills to move into pretty much my ideal job in social media. Starting a blog was just a hobby, a means of scratching an itch that compelled me to write. It has turned in to so much more.
99% (probably more) of the seemingly inconsequential things we do turn out to be exactly that: inconsequential. But it’s that magical 1% which opens up doors we could never have foreseen that validates the time and effort we put into everything else.
Being focussed on a clear goal is important and brings clear benefits. But sometimes doing something for the sheer hell of it can lead you down a path you might otherwise have completely bypassed. So I’ll be encouraging Isaac to keep practising his viola. He will probably never be a professional musician – but who knows where the journey might eventually take him?