Going the distance

Memories shared, lessons learned

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. March 2, 2016

Need more help?

If the stress in your life is more than you can cope with, get help right away.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Go to the nearest hospital or emergency room
  • Call your physician, health provider or clergy
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
    1-800-950-NAMI (6264)

As an amateur piano player, it's a gift is to play the magnificent instruments on our campus. We have a magnificent Steinway and a Bösendorfer, one of the finest pianos in the world, in our public spaces. Schedule permitting, I try to faithfully rehearse in the early evening hours before heading home.

Although the time spent practicing improves my performance, the real gift is the stories people share with me during these times. They talk about regrets and missed opportunities.

Initially, I thought these experiences were simply isolated events from troubled souls. But there a few themes have emerged in the stories shared with me by fellow performers when I'm at the piano:

  • Almost every discussion focuses an upward career trajectory that was curtailed by poor decisions, alcohol and drugs.
  • Some individuals were exploited by promoters and managers. They fine-tuned their musical skills but didn't pay attention to the financial aspects. Checks were cashed, monies disappeared, and by the time the musician woke up, the piggybank was empty.
  • Some were gifted but never became headliners and became bitter. This bitterness often festered and infected other areas of their lives.

So at the end of the evening, the stories are sad, even poignant, but also a wake-up call. The world is not always fair and the good guys don't always win, but as Harry Truman once said, the buck stops with us. We need to take care of business if we hope to achieve our dreams.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

Join the discussion at #Stress.

March 02, 2016