Ode To Things That Bring Us Joy

It’s so important that at any age, each and everyone of us have interests and hobbies that spark joy in our lives. One of my go-to’s has always been music. Singing in the shower or in places where the acoustics make you sound amazing even though you’re subpar. Playing the flute in the high school band or the sax in jazz. Belting out my favourite hits on the radio. Music has always been such an immense part of my life.

My love for music comes from my family, mostly my mom’s side although my dad is a phenomenal drummer too. Growing up, there was always music on, especially when we were washing dishes by hand. Back in the early days, records, then later, cassettes and CDs. Neil Young, Eric Clapton, America, Jann Arden, James Taylor you name it, we played it!

The Mireault’s (my mom’s side) have always been such a close knit family and whenever we got together for a special occasion or weekend pool parties on the farm, guitars were sure to make an appearance around the fire late at night and three part harmonies followed suit. It’s a running joke in town- “You’re a Mireault-music is in your blood” they say. Whenever there’s someone added to our family, they can’t believe our rendition of Happy Birthday! It’s one for the books! In fact, we even have our own songs book! It’s coil bound and 288 pages long! That’s my Mémère and Pépère on the cover!

Needless to say, growing up in a small town, my mom and her siblings all learned how to play guitar, mostly by ear. When someone’s fingers are on fire, there’s usually someone who can take over. I’ve always wanted to learn this instrument-it’s been on my bucket list since I can remember. I love how you can bring a guitar anywhere. It can instantly change the mood of a party and I love how you can sing while playing at the same time. Try doing that with a sax or a flute!

My parents always wanted to teach my brother and I to play so when we were in our late teens, they each bought us a Yamaha guitar for Christmas. We had all the intentions in the world to learn from them during our Thursday night dinners at their place, but those guitars never came out. Instead, we’d play a board game or talk until the wee hours of the morning.

My desire to learn how to play the guitar increased when I had my kids. I wanted to play them lullabies and kids’ songs for them to sing along to- but I never took the time to take lessons. There was always a reason not to: no time, too expensive, assignments to hand in for my M. Ed., mom guilt, and the list goes on.

Since I’ve decided in the past few months to do more of what brings me joy, I’m so excited to share that I’ve taken my first guitar lesson tonight! Do you know who gave me the push to make it happen? Three grade 7 and 8 girls who were practicing their guitar in our school’s main learning commons!

It’s so much harder than it looks and it’s really stretching my brain, but I’m so incredibly proud of myself. It’s nothing like playing the flute or the sax or the piano! So tonight I dusted the same guitar that was gifted to me over a decade ago and learned six notes! Check it out! (You can laugh at me, cause I’m laughing with you!).

I feel like I should have done this years ago, but it’s never too late. It’s kind of hilarious because all of the students in the time slots before me are on average 8 years old. But I don’t care. I believe you are never too old to learn something new, especially something you’ve dreamed about, that speaks to you, that sparks joy. It’s not foolish to try something new, it’s foolish to never try at all. So I keep trying…

Allow me to change the tone a bit. As a teacher, it was really interesting for me to be in the passenger seat and learning at my own pace. I was instantly immersed in the environment that my students live day in and day out. I felt so many emotions. Ok, it was my first lessons, but even with a music background and already knowing how to read music, I struggled, but I didn’t and won’t give up. I immediately empathized with students when they are learning new concepts and skills in my class. Some have previous knowledge but all learn at their own rhythm. They need to be praised and encouraged through the learning process and need time to practice, practice and practice. Practice makes permanent.

As I was looking our Mireault songbook, I came across a tune from Doris Day- Enjoy yourself. I feel it applies well to the message in my post.

So do it. Find time for things that make you happy. Put time aside for yourself and start crossing those items off your bucket list. You’re never too old to learn something new or try the things you’ve always dreamed of. Life’s too short! You won’t regret it! Ode to things that make you happy! Ode to joy!

My first ever song played on my guitar after my first ever lesson (learning notes B, C , D, E, F, G) and about twenty minutes of practice! You gotta start somewhere! Note my husband wasn’t there to film me (who can blame him) 🙂

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