"I wouldn't want to be in a club that would have me as a member."
That remark - most often attributed to Groucho Marx - periodically visits me. And though I have no expectations anyone will publicly share their story, I'm also reasonably sure others occasionally walk this less-than-ennobling path with me and Groucho.
Here's a musical experience to illustrate - substitute your own in its place. Not long ago I was invited to join a jam session soon after someone heard me perform. So far, so good - an opportunity to interact with other musicians. My enthusiasm curdled not long into the session; I wasn't feeling challenged. I heard Groucho's voice.
Driving home, previous jam sessions involving the opposite scenario - i.e. those times when I was clearly out of my depth with other musicians - flashed across my mind. That reflection brought me to my daughter's occasional lament about preferring to share the stage or set with actors who challenge her. But how do those actors feel if they're not challenged by her? Probably like the musicians in my latter scenario, right? Groucho loomed.
Do you ever fantasize about that sweet spot? You know, being asked to join a club you really want to be in? A club with members who would be patient with me as I grow worthy of being in the club. But then I look in the mirror and see Groucho's knowing smirk. Not a chance, knucklehead.