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I always thought Peter Pan was mad. While he and his fellow Neverlanders were enjoying their eternal childhood, I was desperately awaiting my "grown-up" days. I just wanted to rush through life; I wanted to close my eyes and wake up a responsible, respected adult.

I have my piano teacher to thank for stopping my headlong rush through life. He had spent the summer in Israel and had been unable to teach me; upon his return, he was astounded by the amount of improvement I showed and commented, "You should be a junior so I can have one extra year with you. By then, you'll be ready to go pro." Then he sighed and added, "Well, it's a year; you can do a lot in a year if you set your mind to it." As I pondered his words, it struck me that he had mourned the shortness of my last year with him. A year, which to me, had always appeared endless, suddenly seemed as if it could vanish in a blink of an eye.

As I drove home afterward, my mother said, "Remember that year when your old piano teacher never wanted to teach you? We should have switched teachers then." I thought about it a moment, then replied, "No, she only didn't have the heart to teach me because I didn't have the heart...

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