Age of Easy
“Do you play any instruments?”
“No, but I wish I could play the piano.”
“Why don’t you?”
“It’s too hard.”
I live in Nashville and work in music, so I get asked that question frequently (read: at least twice weekly) and the conversation generally follows the above script.
But the thing is, I took piano lessons for a hot minute when I was a kid. But eventually I begged my mom to let me to quit. Piano was just too hard for me.
Then I tried to take it up again in college, both attempting to teach myself and enlisting the guidance of musically-minded friends.
But I quit that, too. “Too hard” was my excuse. Again.
In fact, I’ve quit - or put off - pursuing a lot of things because I’ve deemed them too difficult: learning French, improving my art skills, learning to cook, following through with my goal to write daily.
So instead, I relegate these things to my “wish-I-could” category and carry on with the easy stuff instead.
We always go for easy, don’t we?
Binge watching TV is easy. Hookups are easy. Sparknotes is easy. Scrolling through Instagram instead of saying hello to the person sharing an elevator with you is easy. Settling into a mundane job you don’t care for is easy. Hiding behind the security of a text message for a difficult conversation is easy. Holding a grudge instead of apologizing is easy. Eating ice cream and watching New Girl instead of finishing this post is easy.
We’re in the age of easy.
Why are we so adamant to avoid hard things when in the end those are the things that often leave us the most fulfilled? That painting we’ve pained over, a successful relationship we’ve willingly sacrificed for, a difficult conversation that cleared up misunderstandings: aren’t all of these things infinitely more precious to us than those which came to us easily?
And of which accomplishment are we more proud, anyways? That which required no effort or the feat which consumed us entirely? In fact, can we call anything that takes no effort an accomplishment at all?
At this point in the post, I was going to provide an excerpt from my own life of a time I slaved over something and was pleased with the results despite the difficulty, but you know what I realized? I can’t even remember the last time I followed through with something that was exceptionally difficult (except for that Physics class I took one summer which was truly a taste of what’s waiting for the damned in Hell’s abyss). Who am I?! When did I judge everything as too hard and not worth my effort?
Rarely is something too hard; we put the “too” there as an excuse, a justification for why we refuse to even give something a go.
“Learning piano is too hard, so why should I even try?”
“Being in a relationship would be too hard, so why should we even try?”
“Pursuing my passion is too hard, so why should I even try?”
Consistently, we confuse difficulties for impossibilities.
I think somewhere along the way, what’s most comfortable for us got confused with what’s best for us, when in reality this couldn’t be further from the truth. Easy doesn’t lead to growth. Easy leads to atrophy.
Isn’t it time we put aside the excuses?
[Photo by Juliette Kibodeaux.]