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Notes from the Field

The Mandolin Life

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In various threads about getting better you will hear complaints about how little time is available for mandolin. Working two jobs, keeping three kids fed, negotiating four ex-wives, only five days of vacationÖ I hear you.

This is not a ďprioritiesĒ lecture, I am not going to tell you that you have the same 24 hours in a day that everyone does, this is not going to be a time management tips and tricks discussion.

My experience is much more gradual and organic. Mandolin started as something I did now and then, filling in occasional free time, and has become something my whole life is organized around. I am not sure I made a single over-arching conscious decision to make it happen, or that I made that many individual conscious decisions along the way. Looking back it seems as if it just happened.

Well yea, my journey contains a few conscious decisions, I have to admit, the biggest being I gave up watching television. I decided that instead of watching the lives of others, I wanted to have a life that was interesting enough to watch. I wanted to live the selected channel, not just change the channel.

That opened up huge great vistas of time. My goodness. Nowadays, if I occasionally watch a television, I feel very mortal, and my time running out. I feel the sand going through the hourglass.

A second conscious decision I made was to hire someone to take care of the lawn, yard and driveway. And I made a performance deal Ė instead of paying for someone to come out biweekly, need it or not, I said here is a lump sum for the year to keep my yard presentable and my driveway clear of snow. Come whenever it needs work. Donít come if there is nothing needs done.

I am not a rich person, not even close, but that is the best money I have ever spent. Just about every day I consider, would I rather have the money, or the freeing knowledge that it just gets done. The money never wins that battle.

There are less conscious things that have saved time for mandolinning. I eschew owning items that require special care or special attention. I gave away all the dishes that cannot be put in the dish washer, I donít wear anything I canít throw in the washer and dryer. (Well I have some formalwear that needs dry cleaning. But they pick up and deliver.) I donít have a lawn mower or snow blower (as you would expect) so I donít have any small engine repair or maintenance to do.

The main thing, however, the thing that makes the difference, is that mandolinning has moved from something I used to make time for, to what it is now: along with family and work, it is what I do. Itís the other stuff, housework, fishing, reading, that I fit in where I can.

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Updated Jan-29-2018 at 12:54pm by JeffD



  1. Gelsenbury's Avatar
    I think you're onto something there. I wish I had the courage - or family support - to make those decisions.
  2. JeffD's Avatar
    I know. All stake holders have to be "on board".

    Observation - I have never seen a headstone in a grave yard that reported on how neatly the deceased folded his underwear, or his superlative garden maintenance.

    Just sayin...