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Repeat Performance: The Benefit of Experience

This post came down a couple years ago because the spambots would just not leave it alone.   It’s a fun post and we seem to have the spambots at bay–time to put it back in view.  MBL

Last weekend was Oktoberfest at my local fairgrounds. It was a bigger deal than I expected–and a much better good time for me personally than you might have guessed. That Oktoberfest had untold delights.

We got there in the late afternoon when the little kids were still allowed on the premises. (I live in a state that does not allow children at public drinking sites.) The music was already oom-pahing along when we arrived–polkas, waltzes, and, of course, the “duck dance” (which no self-respecting adult would do anywhere else). But the best part about the first two hours was watching the little ones do their thing on the dance floor. When you reach “grandparent” age, little ones having fun are precious no matter whose they are. Their dancing is particularly delightful–even when they are just whirling around or plopped in a heap in the middle.

Then there was the tuba player! A two-time national champion. He was good. And I could notice the difference when he played. I spent eight years in Midwest school bands. You need that much experience to recognize good tuba playing.

It got better. The band doing the next set featured an authentic alpenhorn player–a silver-haired sprite of a woman in a dirndl skirt. How she made 15 feet of wood sound that beautiful was miraculous. She had experience.

Later in the evening yet a different band, billed as “the Dixie Chicks of the button box,” took the stage. They were good, too. In a very different way. They were there for the young adults–who probably didn’t have anywhere NEAR as much respect for the cute little blonde leading the band as I did. She plays “an accordian”–an instrument scorned by legions even in my home state of Wisconsin. But she made it hip. The young dancers had major fun–but so did we. And yes, they played The Duck Dance–also the Hokey Pokey!

Four days later, I’m still thinking about that good time. It was a great reminder of what’s good about getting older. Experience gives you so much more depth for processing and appreciating what’s going on right now. Experience reminds you that what was uncool can become cool. That what seems impossible–like playing sweet haunting notes on a horn designed for goatherds–is indeed possible. It helps you set wider boundaries and build more solid bridges.

And the best part? The older you get the more experience you have to work with! Cool. So go have some fun–and let yourself enjoy all that it reminds you of all over again.

This article was previously posted Oct. 8, 2008 but was removed because of technical problems.

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