I've been playing the guitar for a long time. Here at April 2018 means I'm celebrating 40 years since being presented a 3/4 size Yamaha classical guitar on my 7th birthday. Out of the 40 years there would be maybe 2 years total gap, where I hadn't touched the guitar for months on end, mostly around the very early teens. But since around 16, non stop. Ask my wife, she's known me for 29 years of those 40 years...
I've spoken to a lot of people who played musical instruments to a high level when they were kids, but stopped a long time ago. So why have I kept playing guitar for so long, and why do I keep playing?
I think one of the clues is that, as an engineer, I have a teensy bit of OCD. Other engineers are nodding with me right now. So the obsession and the compulsion are a driver. But if I was to sit a test with a psych I doubt I would be diagnosed with "official" OCD, I'm more "high functioning OCD" - so it's not just about OCD.
I suspect that playing the guitar is a coping mechanism. Let me put it this way - when I'm playing guitar I'm using up a lot of brain CPU power, and thus my brain isn't able to spend any time ruminating about the woes and stresses of life. While I'm playing, it's all good, and that makes me feel good. So I play.
...which leads into addiction, I guess. My brain knows that when I play, I get feel good feelings. So to keep getting that hit I want to play guitar. Like any other psychological dependence I guess.
Interesting. There's also my personality traits of stubbornness ("No way will I stop playing guitar, not for any reason!"), competitiveness ("I *will* conquer this song, the next song, and the next!"), pride ("Look at meee! Wheee!").
So is it a bunch of "bad" things the reason why I have played guitar for so long, and why I continue to play? Yikes!