Twenty Years and Five Minutes

A tourist in New York’s Greenwich Village decided to have his portrait sketched by a sidewalk artist. He received a very fine sketch, for which he was charged $100.

“That’s expensive,” he said to the artist, “but I’ll pay it, because it is a great sketch. But, really, it took you only five minutes.”

“Twenty years and five minutes,” the artist replied.

“Basic Economics” Thomas Sowell

By far, the wisest investment I ever made came when I was 14. At that young, dumb age, I was drawn into music and began investing time and energy into guitar, learning theory, training my hear to punk rock records, often at the expense of my school studies.

I don’t remember what I learned during the 180 days (and subsequent summer school months) of Mr. Bigley’s Earth Science class, but today I see how those formative years in my room, bellied up to the stereo with guitar in-hand, were the beginning of a lifelong passion. Every day, when I sit down to mull over songs, I draw on that experience. When I play, it brings me joy. I’m thankful today that I never gave up music, even when the F-major chord abused my fingers (and nerves) for weeks, even when studying for the next day’s test was probably a touch more important than analyzing Fletcher Dragge’s palm-muting technique, and even as college and jobs and adulthood closed in.

Teenagers tend to make some fairly stupid decisions, and I was not immune. But, for one time at least, my younger self nailed it.

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