My biggest "self-indulgence" this year has to be bass-playing. Both in terms of the financial "indulgence" of buying new gear (this year I added a Victory Bailey acoustic-electric and an awesome TC Electronics "Red Ripper" fuzz/funk effects pedal to my lineup) but also in terms of giving MYSELF the permission to take time for me on a regular basis. For me, putting life on hold, picking up my bass and jamming, or writing music for an hour or two — without feeling guilty that I am not doing something more "productive" — is my gift to myself.
The benefits I encounter are many, including: having a creative outlet that doesn't require being on the internet or in front of a computer; having a "place" to escape to whenever I feel the need; the increased confidence you get when you learn a particularly difficult riff; and of course the natural improvement in my playing and style that regular practice yields. It even had some unexpected benefits...
You see, since I began teaching myself the bass, I'd record videos of myself playing whatever song I happened to have learned at the time — and naturally I posted those videos to YouTube. Originally I made them as a way to see my form while playing and a way to keep track of the various songs I had learned. But now, as I look back at the body of videos I've made (no matter how embarrassing some of the early videos are) I was surprised that I could readily SEE and HEAR the improvement I've made as a player... a "recorded history" of my progress, which (pardon my self-indulgence) I think is pretty neat.
This post is part of Think Kit 2011.