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Well, I'm wide awake at 2:23AM (again), and while listening to some music, I started wondering what I would do all day long if I was FIREd, besides some physical exercise (I like swimming and cycling), and tinkering around with the computer, which makes up about 80% of my life right now.

I studied piano for more than 5 years, and even got to the level of giving small Bach and Mozart concertos. I had a great teacher (scholarship for 10 years in France, graduated as a "licensed solo pianist"), and really got to the point of loving the instrument. I have a second-hand Kawai at home, which became like a friend to me. I used to practice my lessons and exercises a for a half hour, and then play for hours just for the fun of it. I loved improvising, and though not very good at it, there are sometimes when you're simply inspired, and something nice comes out.

I'm listening right now to Chopin's first concerto for piano and orchestra, one of the finest piano concertos out there, in my humble opinion. And, even after having heard it literally dozens of times, I still get the goosebumps when the piano solo goes into a frenzy in the medium part of the Allegro Maestoso. And I still get the urge to shed a tear when listening to the very subtle way that the orchestra is intertwined with the piano solo in the Romance Larghetto, playing in perfect sincope. So amazing, and yet it seems so simple. Pure genius. I honestly believe Chopin deserved at least another 20 years of life. His contributions to piano music are simply amazing. But, I digress.

So, what would my FIREd hobby be? I'd probably buy a decent upright piano (ie, > Yamaha, maybe a Kawai or even a Steinway, budget allowing). And I would play it for as long as I wanted, without restrictions on time allowed to played, or music volume. I would play it with the same excitement I got when I first played my old Kawai. And I know I would never grow tired of it. I get this warm, fuzzy feeling just listening to the music, and this is greatly amplified when you're actually playing the music!

My dream is to someday be able to reach a piano soloist level, enough to be able to play the major piano concertos perfectly. I'm a bit disheartened (not in a bad way) when seeing so many young people playing concertos at age 16, but on the other hand, I somehow take comfort in the fact that a very famous pianist (I forget his name) got started in professional piano playing well beyond 50 years, and he played professionally for more than 30 years, dying well after reaching 80. So, I guess I still have a chance. ;-)

Oh, and the piano is very LBYM, by the way. You buy it once, and you just need to keep it away from moisture, and tune it once a year, maybe twice if you demand perfect tuning. Besides cleaning any dust on top of it, there is no other maintenace required. If it's a high quality piano, it would probably outlive me.

So, what would your FIREd hobby be?

...wannabe pianist...
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