My mom asked me a question when I was five years old: “What instrument do you want to play?” It seemed innocent enough as I answered excitedly, “Piano!” but that simple decision would change my whole life. I was never an athletic child (believe me, I’ve tried) or a dancer, but my mom had always wanted my sister and me to play an instrument. Now, as I’m sixteen years old and have been playing piano for 11 years, I often think back to little me and wonder if I would have answered differently if I could see the years of my life that would be filled by it. I love playing piano and it’s always going to be a huge part of my life, but with the long years of my mom constantly telling my sister and me to practice, the pressure that comes with playing an instrument for so long, and feeling like it was all for nothing by not doing anything with it I wonder what it was all for. I didn’t write this to talk about how much piano ruined my life; actually quite the opposite, despite its many pains piano has taught me skills and lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. It taught me that I can be so much more than what I think I can be and how to be confident in myself and my talents. I just wonder how the decisions we make as innocent children—whether it’s what instrument or sport we want to play—can define our entire lives and make us ask: Was it worth it?

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