29 9/12: The Rocker

Music has always been a big part of my life, so it’s strange to consider the fact that I only seriously took up an instrument the year I’m turning 30, which I generally consider late to be starting anything new.

I used to play piano and flute, but that was never really my choice. For the former, it was more of my mom wanting me to be a good Chinese boy, and me not wanting to let her down. When it came to the latter, my school had a strong emphasis on arts, and either visual arts or music were mandatory. I chose music1, and played the flute; far from ideal for a teenager going through puberty and an identity crisis.

I bought my first ukulele a few months ago, and I don’t think I’ve stopped playing since.

Self portrait at 29 9/12

Jammin’ in my jammies. With what may possibly be an erection.

Photo by Jess.

So much of my life has been filled by those four little strings. It’s an entirely new medium I’m still exploring, a muscle I’d yet to flex, a way of expressing myself that’s so unlike any of my other outlets.

I get pains in my fingers and wrists from playing too much, so I structure my life around the breaks; doing laundry, writing, cleaning my room, sorting my paperwork until the tingling or pinching goes away. The pads of my fingers are dead. I used to fall asleep thinking of her — now I work out scale patterns and chords across the fretboard in my head until I pass out. I even decided to make the ultimate commitment and grow out the nails on my strumming hand because the longer they get, the more pleased I am with the sound (and I find both long nails and asymmetry absolutely disgusting).

It’s come to the point where I’d rather play ukulele than play games, or go out, or talk to people. I love playing so much that I enjoy it even though I’m still no good at it.

I turn 30 in three months, and music is my hot hot bath, my dead end, and my girlfriend.

The Turning 30 Series

  1. Ironic that I’m so much more of a visual artist now. []


  1. Woot.. I love this turning 30 series you have

    My music guide and mentor is finally creating his own!:)

    Awesomeness… I hope one day we both have home studios with drum machines, keyboards, drum sets, guitars, blah blah and are making what we love most !:)

    • I told you, we’re going to be postal servicing our tunes one day. Don’t stop playing with that uke, it’ll give you a good musical foundation and develop your ear.

  2. 30 is not old, sheesh! You’re NEVER too old to learn because you should always be learning to constantly be growing. There’s always time for yourself. My grandfather’s 80 something and he’s totally editing his own vacation videos and showing them to us at BBQs and photoshopping all the pics he takes with my grandma. It’s pretty cute. He only started this in his late 70s! All I did was give him CS2 and a book :)

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