What would you have to do, and what would you have to know in order to feel like it would be impossible for you to run out of ideas? To play at the edge of what you believe is possible? To constantly innovate at the highest level possible?
We now live in a musical culture where the masses of musicians have decided that doing *anything* beyond what they can understand is unnecessary, unmusical, indulgent and even impossible.
Even the majority of the greatest players today cannot hear or see the details. Why have they decided how innovative they can be? So many musicians will write off entire innovations just because they can't understand how to do something with them, and often times, that they can't do something with it immediately, which results in a degradation of a wholistic ability to play - cutting corners when there are none left to cut. Show me one drummer who says that double bass drumming is unmusical, who can actually play 2 bass drums. Show me one drummer, obsessed with playing quietly, who can actually hit the drums.
The real innovators did not ask your permission for them to do what they did!!
In the same way that most people don’t really know why they like what they like, most people don’t like what they can’t understand. If you have a physical and emotional aversion to music beyond what you can conceptualize, that tells me everything I need to know about your relationship to work and your relationship to stress.
Don't think that the solution is to resort to "simplicity". Playing “less” does not mean “less complex”.
Even playing one note with the correct form is incredibly complex! How far do you want to see?
The truth is, most musicians know that there's more out there, and don't ever reach for it. Perhaps they are afraid of who they could become. The music they could make. The life they could live. Maybe it's safer for them to never know. To them I could say: Do you really need to play music? Are you using music to bargain for emotional fulfillment which you actually need to find from somewhere else? Don't disgrace your life potential.
Even then, they won't quit. Something compels them to continue to play. But even then, they will always have the awareness of something more in the back of their minds. Something that they feel they gave up on. Maybe they didn't have a plan. Maybe they wanted it for clout and their heart wasn't truly in it. Maybe they were too afraid of the potential public rejection of their authenticity. Maybe they were afraid of potentially having to start over in order to do what they truly wanted to do, and the perceived level of work required to achieve those results.
I've known people who shaped their entire lives and personalities around justifying and rationalizing away their wasted potential. They are the some of the worst personalities I have encountered.
The important thing to remember is that if you are willing to give it all you got and go as deep as you can for the right reasons, it is never too late. However, there are a lot of things that you have to be ok with if you choose to go down that often hidden path: you have to be willing to potentially walk away from almost everything you know and believe in. If you can then walk with the knowing that your glory is waiting for you, you will find your way to arrive to it again and again.
If music has no end, why would anyone intentionally never begin?