I was listening to my son play guitar the other night and found myself marveling at his skills. I always tell him how much I love his playing and then follow up with an enthusiastic, slightly humorous, suggestion that he join a band, perform at school talent shows, or write a song of his own. It's like those will mark his transition from learning to play guitar to being a guitar player. The reason you learn something is to do something with it. I'm searching for ways he can use this skill.
But he's not on his way to something else, he's already exactly where he wants to be. In his mind, he's playing the guitar, not learning to play. Of course, he's constantly improving, but for me, learning implies a task to be completed, something to get you from one place to another. He loves playing favorite riffs and reverse engineering songs. It's changed the way he listens to music and given us hours of things to talk about. I want to wrap all of that in progress that can be measured - where is this going?
My son, on the other hand, has a wonderful time exploring songs for a half-hour, then puts the guitar back in the corner, and turns off the amp. He might play again the next day or in two weeks.
I tend to forget that the things we do, even things we love to do, don't need a purpose, goal, or outcome. They don't need to lead us from one place to another. Sometimes, it's just about going nowhere and loving exactly where you are.