Saying Yes! The Banjo Post

When was the last time you did exactly what you felt like doing?  Not what you “should” do, not what you kind of wanted to do, exactly what you wanted–no compromises.  How many times a day do we tell ourselves, “not today” or “one day?”

Photo by Tian Jiang

Photo by Tian Jiang

I woke up about a month ago and for some reason, something in me snapped.  I had to buy a Macbook Pro that day.  Of course, my mind tried to talk me out of it, “it’s so expensive,” “your other computer works fine,” “wait until later,” “you can’t afford it,” but nothing would dissuade me.  I went to the Apple store on my lunch break that day and bought the computer I had wanted for 4 years.

Photo taken by Tian Jiang

The following week I was buying groceries at the market, and I passed by the music store.  I’ve passed that store a dozen times, always telling myself “you’ll buy it one day” or “now is not the right time.”  “You just bought a computer; you definitely don’t need to buy a banjo.”

I walked in just to browse but strutted out with Eliza, my new banjo.  I’m a lefty, and there are not many lefty banjos (and even fewer lefty Youtube videos and books, I’m finding).  The banjo had literally arrived that day, and I was the first one to play it out of the box.  I have wanted to play banjo for years, but I always had an excuse.

I LOVE IT!  Every time I hold it, or play, or sing along, I’m incandescently happy.  I have two amazing teachers, Jenny Kerr and Jim Chayka, who are teaching me different styles: old-time & bluegrass 3-finger style.  Both play professionally and are incredible musicians.  I highly recommend checking them out.

Photo taken by Tian Jiang

There have been many other “yes’s” in my life as of late.  “Yes” to a 10-day vacation, which will take me to the sacred sites of Peru. “Yes” to dancing around my apartment to Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”   “Yes” to visiting a friend in Boulder and to a day at Cataract Falls.  “Yes” to buying myself flowers.

Of course, there’s also a time to say “no,” (as I’m finding with saying “yes” to too many chocolate bars and ice cream) and to temper.  Sometimes saying “no” can actually be saying “yes” to oneself and one’s needs.  Ultimately, we create our lives and decide how many “yes’s” and “no’s” make up a lifetime.

For more of Tian Jiang’s photos, click here.

Join the discussion 23 Comments

  • Karen Boone says:

    Love it Jackie!!! I’m sooo proud of you!

  • Ben Thompson says:

    I don’t understand. Either you can afford stuff or you can’t. If you can’t then you’re simply masking irresponsibility as emancipation.

    Or is that an over-simplification? Are you saying that previously you could afford it but still didn’t buy it because you felt guilty or you felt you had to take life too seriously?

    • Jacqueline says:

      Hi Ben! Thanks for your comment. It’s not so much about not being able to afford it, although you could always make a case for putting money elsewhere. The post is more about saying “yes” to breaking free from the restrictions we place on ourselves and honoring things that we’ve wanted for a really long time. Many of the ways I’ve been experimenting with saying “yes” doesn’t involve money at all. It may be a nap, or singing my latest favorite song while riding my bike, or sleeping in on a Saturday. It’s about honoring what I truly want. In the case of a nap or singing, those are momentary pleasures of life. With regards to the Macbook, the trip to Peru, and the banjo, those are things I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

      With everything comes balance. One of the main reasons I didn’t buy a Macbook earlier is because I couldn’t afford it, but I think what changed in me that morning i decided to buy one was that I closely related my excuses for not writing to “I don’t have a good computer.” Buying the Macbook in many ways was a symbol of having no more excuses for not taking my writing more seriously.

      Hope this addresses your comment. As always, feel free to respond and thanks again!

  • Natalie says:

    Xiaomei,I’m really happy that you bought Eliza, the banjo.Hope I will have a chance to see you playing. And that’s brave thing to say “Yes ” sometimes, I also need more courage to do the right things.

  • john says:

    As soon as you have mastered “Duelling Banjoes” put it on YouTube. Congrats.

  • john says:

    Another thought: If you were ambidextrous, you could play a solo version of the above.

  • Andrea says:

    Yes to Boulder! Love it, how is the new MacBook Pro? That’s also something I’ve been talking about getting for years. Hope the banjo lessons are going well and you enjoy Peru!

  • Awesome!!! Go, girl! I got a guitar too. Let’s Jam..(Jane, you can come too…bring your lyrics…) 🙂

  • Susan says:

    Wow! Great job about knowing what makes you alive & happy! Tian’s photos are amazing!
    Love you!

  • Luca says:

    Wow, you learning to play Banjo!! I love the sound of it. I was in Dali when I assisted to a performance of a trio from Canada, playing Banjo and other instruments, and it was so energetic, you could not keep your feet still! Congrats Jackie
    And by the way, I also got totally kidnapped by the new Born This Way. Never liked Gaga, but that song, just perfect. Don’t be a drag, just be a queen! 🙂

    • Jacqueline says:

      That’s so cool that you like the banjo, Luca! Xiao Jie and I’ve been having a lot of fun in the city. Wish you were here! We would for sure eat delicious Italian pasta, watch WAG together, and dance around my apartment blaring “Born This Way.” Miss you lots!!

  • Jessica says:

    Being from the South and growing up with Bluegrass, I do love hearing the banjo. Congrats on picking it up and saying YES!

    • Jacqueline says:

      I’m from the South too! In fact, my entire extended family is from KY. Where are you from? Thanks for your support! Hopefully it won’t be too long before I get a Youtube video up!

  • Banjos just look like a lot of fun. I have no musical ability but I have always wanted a banjo. But that is money that I will never have to spend. I will continue to dream about a Macbook Pro though.

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