Doing the adult thing and moving to the big city into a big-girl apartment proved to be a much more difficult transition than I had anticipated, in ways I wasn’t expecting it to be difficult.
For starters, without my 3+ hours of driving every day, I suddenly had oodles of free time on my hands, and I was also getting more than 5–6 hours of sleep every night. Awesome, right?
Not really. It didn’t take long for me to notice all the holes I had in my life without things like school and family to fill them. I often felt similar to the way I did between graduation and starting a new job: lost and unsure of what my purpose was. Most annoyingly, I knew that I was where I was supposed to be, regardless of how the situation made me feel. So I found myself longing for a piano more than I ever had before. I needed the comfort that those ivory keys bring to my soul. I was an incomplete person in a lot of ways, but I knew a piano would make things more endurable somehow.
Eventually, I decided that it would be okay for me to go a little crazy and buy a piano—I mean, who was going to stop me, anyway? So a few weeks ago, I went into the Piano Gallery after work to “price check.” I was prepared to take out a loan, pay interest, whatever it took to get me a piano within the next few weeks.
Walking into that store was a bit like walking into a library; I instantly got cold chills and what little self-possession I had evaporated into manic excitement. For a moment, I couldn't decide where to begin and just had to breathe it all in.
Thankfully, I had enough possession of my wits to avoid the real pianos; I was here to look at the digital pianos. Some day, when I'm a millionaire and don't have to share walls with random strangers, I am going to have a music room with a grand piano in the middle of it. But until that day, a digital piano will have to do me, as it is much more conducive to apartment living: I can control my volume a little better, I can use headphones to spare my roommate and neighbors (although I can't mute the sound of pounding), and it only requires 2 guys to move it, rather than 8 of the world's strongest men and special piano-moving equipment.
Anyway, I was the only person in the store besides the sales guy, so I was an extra easy target. (I find it somewhat ironic that I spent my whole life thinking that sales people were evil, and then I somehow ended up in marketing. A less intrusive form of manipulation, but effective all the same.) I told him my price range (the amount I had in my savings account, which I was sure wouldn't be enough), and waited for him to inwardly roll his eyes and think, "Great; I guess I won't be ending my day with a big sale today," but he just said, "We have plenty of new pianos in that range" and lead me straight to them.
That pretty much sealed the deal for me. If I still had possession of my smart shopping skills, I would have tried out more than just the 3 he showed me, maybe looked at some of the used digitals to see if I could get a higher quality piano for the same price, but the minute I sat down to test the ones he showed me, I had found home.
Before I knew it, I was sitting in a chair, quivering with excitement, as he calculated my bill. I paid a little extra so they would deliver it/put it together, and he said it would be there in two days.
I liked that sales guy.
So, two days later, I was working on my couch, trying to get as much work done as possible while I waited for the delivery guys to get there, because I knew that once that piano was in my room I would be too distracted to read up on electronic health records.
Fate continued to favor me, as the piano fit perfectly in the spot I had designated for it in my room. It may seem a little silly to have a piano in your room, but my room is huge, and my roommate is watching TV almost constantly, and I've learned from personal experience that the TV and the piano should be as far apart as possible. Besides, I've always fantasized about having a piano in my room. It's funny which dreams end up coming true. Actually, I had a dream once that we were vacationing in a huge mansion, and I got this awesome bedroom that had a gourmet kitchen, a canopy bed, a grand piano, a gorgeous mountain view, and a couple secret passageways the owners didn't know about.
So here it is, my Yamaha Arius YDP-161:
And, I am happy to report, this thing has been pounded on every day since I got it (minus the days I wasn't home). My forearms got properly sore from playing octaves chords over and over again, and my fingers have quickly regained some of their former strength. I haven't had the chance to truly dedicate myself to piano like this since, well, I'm not really sure. Before high school.
Even though I bought this for myself, I consider it a gift from God for a couple of reasons: (1) it's thanks to him that I even had the funds to buy one when I needed it, and (2) he was the one who told me it was okay to buy one in the first place. He understands that I need music and writing to help me work through hard times and high times in my life; he knows that creating music can make everything all better; and he knows that I'm not entirely complete without access to this wonderful instrument.
I can scarcely describe the joy I felt as sat down for the first time and played some good ol' Jon Schmidt. It is supremely awesome to be able to run home during my lunchbreaks on long, boring days to pound out some of my favorite songs for a half hour or so. I can think of no better way to kill time as I'm waiting for 1:00 church to finally roll around.
And, just as I had hoped, I feel like a complete person again, and the dark clouds of life aren't really dark any more.