Friday, December 9, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to the 11th floor...

Bear with me - there's a stamp collecting connection that will become clear at the end (I hope).

I just stood up from playing the old upright piano in our 11th-floor apartment. It's taken me two months to give myself permission to sit down and play it without guilt: I don't play well and its presence represents pain to others that could have been avoided. The original plan was to leave the piano behind as moving it was impractical, but learning there was a freight elevator at our new apartment building, we thought maybe it could be done - the piano is on wheels, after all. Loading it onto the rental truck seemed the largest hurdle - until we arrived in STL and met the freight elevator -- the size of a small closet at right angles to a narrow hall.

The logistical brilliance and sheer determination of the guys moving us managed to get the impossible done and the piano arrived in our 11th-floor apartment - a few sore backs and several scratched floors later. Was it worth it? That was my anguish. Trying to balance the cost to others against the benefit to self. I really don't play well. I can't justify to others why it gives me so much pleasure. It is not a necessity and I don't do it "correctly." It just feeds my soul.

And that brings me back to beginning stamp collecting. I believe we sometimes need to quiet whatever inner voice tells us we're not accomplished enough at what we enjoy to justify doing it, whether it's working out at the gym, playing the piano or starting a new hobby. Stamp collecting can bring pleasure in so many different ways - I think any worries about proceeding "correctly" should be set aside. Begin where it gives pleasure and proceed from there. If you're enjoying sorting, handling, displaying stamps, set aside any fear of being incorrect or not a "real philatelist." Just go right ahead and get started. I'll be playing my piano.

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