Lani and I outside my apartment building in New York City (1974):
The past is immutable. I can never go back in time to change what happened. But, I still like to imagine the possibilities.
I arrived in New York City in 1970 (after traveling around the world) and immediately found work as a secretary at Columbia University. One of the perks of being an employee was that I was allowed to take six credits of coursework per semester for free. I did not have to pay tuition. So, I enrolled in undergraduate courses at night, studying music theory, music history, and other topics. I enjoyed these classes so much that I applied to Columbia University Graduate School. I was admitted to the Master’s degree program in music as a full time graduate student (I had to quit my secretarial job). That was a huge mistake on my part, because the program caused undue stress for me. After two years in graduate school, I left without finishing my Master’s thesis. It was a lost cause, and I had a student loan to pay off.
What did I learn from this? I realized that I should not have considered music as a possible career. I should have considered it a hobby.
By continuing to work at Columbia as a secretary, I could have taken six credits per semester for free forever: Classes in Russian language or Korean history or anything else that was fun to study. It didn’t have to be only music.