This I Believe

Gurtej - Palm Desert, California
Entered on January 15, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks, work
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I believe in perseverance. Nothing in life comes easy; we have to work for it. Eight years ago, I decided on a whim to enter band as my elective course in school. As soon as I picked up the flute, I knew that music was going to be an important part of my life. I was never satisfied with any single instrument, I learned the flute, and then moved on to the saxophone and piano. The day I picked up my first electric guitar, I knew that this instrument was going to be different. I taught myself how to play and soon after began writing songs and joined a few bands. The electric guitar became my passion and I was known throughout my friend circles as a very good guitarist. This made me proud and being a musician became a key component of how I defined myself.

During my sophomore year, a sports injury broke a flexor tendon in my left hand. When the doctor told me that I would never regain the ability to bend that finger, I was crushed. I knew it was the key finger used to master the electric guitar. I had to make a choice. Either give up on my passion or relearn to play without a full range of motion. Instead of giving up, I decided to relearn the guitar once my surgery was complete.

After my surgery, I wasn’t able to use my hand for 6 weeks. It was hard to be going through such a traumatic experience and not being able to release my frustrations through music. As soon as the doctor said I could use my hand again, I picked up my guitar. It was very frustrating for the first few weeks because I could only play a few chords and I began to wonder if I would ever be good again. Many people would have just given up, but I was determined to relearn to play. This had become more than just a desire to play the guitar; it was a test of my will and determination to fight for something I wanted. After months of hard work, I was back to playing the songs I had mastered before my injury.

Relearning to play guitar reiterates the fact that if I work hard and devote my energy, I can achieve anything. After learning to play the guitar again, I found I had renewed motivation to push myself in other areas too. It might be hard for most people to understand how important music is to me and how it is not just a hobby, but an important part of who I am. I am happy that I did not give up on my passion and had the self-confidence that I could one day overcome my injury. Fighting to keep music in my life has taught me that my passions can drive me to push myself harder than I ever imagined and my dedication can help me achieve unimaginable success.