I am studying classical guitar and learning about how to use insulin at the same time.
Today it dawned on me how similar both endeavors can be:
Learning to do something that is very complicated and difficult.
Perfecting a skill that is somewhat rare – needing to seek out teachers and mentors to learn an arcane craft.
Having to patiently engage in repetitive tasks, day after day, and slowly evolve towards mastery – neither can be mastered overnight, over a weekend or even over a month or two. It takes what it takes, and what it takes is time.
Learning to be patient and smile when people make cracks that are not very kind or that show a desire to be helpful which is unsupported by any understanding of what it is that I’m trying to accomplish (“No, I am not interested in being a rock star.” “No, I am not trying to cure my genetically programmed, currently incurable diabetes.”)
Enjoying the comfort and support of fellow-travellers, the only people who really understand what I’m going through.
Feeling that exuberant bubble of pride when I pull off learning a particularly piece – or achieve a particularly good A1C – my hard-won reward for many long hours of exacting and (sometimes) exhausting effort.
Wondering sometimes why I’m wired this way – while others watch TV, read a trashy novel, play softball or drink at the pub, I’m practicing scales, perfecting my glucose log, practicing my duet part for my next lesson, shopping on-line for the ideal insulin case or doing something else a bit off the beaten path of daily life in America. All my friends love music, they just don’t get why I love classical guitar so much. All my friends watch their calories, they just don’t get my obsession with carbs. I feel that both pursuits are perfectly natural for me – they’re wired into my genes, after all – but that they are rare enough to make me feel a bit odd in the crowd.
I don’t know which would make me more happy: becoming a guitar virtuoso or a diabetes virtuoso. However, unless I become a diabetes virtuoso, my future as a guitarist is in jeopardy. Therefore, I have to do both.