January 18, 2022 -- When I was in 9th grade, my clarinet teacher wanted me to forgo my other interests to focus on clarinet, accept that I needed a much better instrument, and persuade my parents to buy me one. She predicted that if I did not, I would become a jack-of-all-trades and a master of none. My eclectic nature rebelled, and I mostly abandoned clarinet for years. However, 20+ years ago, I got a professional grade instrument. I've (re-)gained prowess and enjoy learning new things. With all of my instruments, I'm trying to be more disciplined about reading music, not just playing by ear, and practicing multiple times a day. But if I were asked to play seriously, I would have to at least redouble my efforts.
"Keeping in practice" applies today not just with music, but many other skills, keeping ready to take things to another level as needed, anticipating potential opportunities and challenges, and preparing accordingly.
The last couple of years, I've put effort into making my 1960's and 70's audio recordings available, knowing that they will be at least be appreciated, if not commercially valuable. Though a small amount, what I was paid last year for the Jimmie Vaughan recording compares favorably to my total pay in years when sound recording was a primary activity for me.
Except for a handful of people that either are immunocompromised or live with same, I'm as cautious regarding COVID-19 as anyone I know. My wife and I mostly have not been in direct contact with other people, except for weekly grocery shopping "date", at a store with mostly masked patrons, at a time when it is likely to be sparsely filled. When I discovered microCovid.org last September, and plugged in overestimates of risk at that store, their calculator said I was using 50% of a High Caution Budget. That was before our booster vaccinations, but also before Omicron. The same parameters in the updated calculator now say I would consume 340% of a High Caution Budget. Today we are collecting our first curbside grocery pickup order since June and plan to eschew in-store shopping. (See Covid is not a pandemic, it's endemic. Time to act accordingly. and Why You Can't See The Most Important Omicron Hot Spots In The U.S. On A Map.)