‘You have to spend effort to improve work–life balance. It actually makes you better at what you do during the workday.’ —Dr. Firestein
When it became clear that Dr. Firestein would not be able to surf much longer, his wife, Linda, arranged for him to take banjo lessons, something that had been on his bucket list for years. He stuck with it, practicing daily, and took weekly lessons for two years.
“I eventually got not terrible,” he says. “I’m in a small band called Blue Rheum that gets together every now and then, write a little bit of music and do a little bit of jamming with a couple of friends.”
His banjo accompanies him to parties. He and his friend, who plays the fiddle, can be the evening’s source of entertainment. Dr. Firestein mostly plays bluegrass, Scruggs or three-finger style.
Meanwhile, he recently started taking piano lessons and writes a cooking blog with his wife.
While Dr. Firestein enjoys playing the banjo, he misses surfing “terribly,” he says. Still, he envisions himself once in a while paddling out on his surfboard accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law, trying to catch a wave or two.
“I probably caught over 20,000 waves during my life,” Dr. Firestein says. “The banjo is great. It’s certainly sedentary, and I get tremendous enjoyment from it, but it’s not a substitute for the combination of excitement and serenity you get from surfing.”
Carol Patton is a freelance writer based in Las Vegas.