I must have heard the saying young. “A thing worth doing is worth doing well.” Being an average first born, full of rigid idealistic perfectionism, I thought this was an excellent saying, and strove mightily.
The trouble is, I got older, and met people who were better than me at everything. Well, no one person was better than me at everything I do. But there are better cooks. Better self-hair-do-ers. Better writers. Better violinists. Oh god. The violinists that are out there.
I was a violinist in training. I had huge aspirations. Confronted with so many violinists who were so much better than me, I quailed. I was doing a worthy thing, and I wasn’t doing it very well at all. I was solid, very solid, at a regional level. But I was at camps with internationally awesome rock star violin gods, and I lost my nerve.
A few years later, I quit. I couldn’t play well enough to meet my own (semi-arbitrary) expectations. No matter that I had personal evidence that practice improves the situation. I didn’t have the guts to face the personal failure, so I quit.
But then I got older, had some kids, faced down the shocking levels of daily failure that motherhood brings. A lot of things worth doing weren’t getting done at all. So I started doing the worthy things halfway, half-assed, halfhearted. Sometimes, weeping.
But the worthy things are getting done. And that is better. So I say to you, a thing worth doing is worth doing badly. It’s worth doing with a tear and a sigh.
It’s worth failing.
A thing worth doing is a thing worth doing.
So yesterday, I opened my case, and apologized to my violin, and tried again. Godspeed in your journey, dear reader. Do the worthy thing.