I think I may have officially started my mid-life crisis.
In a foggy haze of sleeplessness, my synapses firing on nothing more than nervous energy, I decided to teach myself the ukulele just days after my dad was finally (finally) released from the hospital. I'm not totally sure my sudden desire to master the uke has anything to do with his discharge, but historically I do seem to manage being in the throes of chaos and uncertainty a little better when I actively take control over something I can control.
Even if it is a funny little four-stringed instrument.
Right after Thomas died, it was redecorating the nursery - with a vengeance I can only describe as pathological. When we were 7 months into trying to conceive early the next year, it was Weight Watchers. When we decided to stop actively trying to get pregnant, officially forgoing more surgery and medical intervention, it was crochet (the great crochet square a day odyssey of 2009).
And now, the ukulele.
I'm such a tied up little knot of anxiety these days - worrying about my dad, worrying about my mom, worrying that I'm worrying about them too much at the expense of my poor, neglected Beloved - and so shutting that part of my brain off and focusing instead on how to twist my fingers into the (really unnatural feeling) positions needed to make sweet, plinky music sing from the belly of the ukulele for a little while just feels so, so good.
I suck at it, but I carry on.
Hmmm, that feels familiar...
We're heading up north to a rented cottage in a few weeks, and the ukulele and my brand new Teach Yourself Ukulele book are coming along for the ride. I'm dreaming of a sun dappled deck, early morning mist rising off the lake, the crackling of a bonfire, and mastery of the Dm7 chord.
I absolutely understand that this is a pretty useless skill to master. There's not much call for barren, angst-ridden, 40-year old ukulele players who drive old men to dialysis and write corporate communications by day and strum badly but determinedly into the night (something My Beloved has already pointed out is kind of annoying - no more ukulele in bed, apparently). But I just don't give a hairy rat's ass.
Some day this will come in handy. Some day I will amaze and astonish someone with my mad uke skills. Or bad uke skills, as the case may be. But still - I will astonish. Or at least amuse.
And it will all be worth it.
In the meantime, right now there's nothing better than this kind of mindless distraction. Or the feeling of once again having control over something. Anything.