A few weeks back, during a violin practice, my teacher remarked, "Tell me if I'm wrong, Grace, but are you thinking about what you are going to play next, instead of what you are playing presently?" He said that I kind of looked disconnected from the music.
He was not wrong.
I have always been quite nervous while performing on stage. It's just that I'm always afraid of forgetting something, forgetting the note I am going to play next. I then proceed to think of what I am going to play next, instead of focusing on what I am currently playing. That action then makes my mind to overthink, and quite ironically, I will usually forget the next note, which causes me to completely panic. This is particularly an issue for me, and maybe for many others, because I just can't seem to focus on my performance itself since I am too busy thinking about what is going to happen next.
And then I thought, it's kind of like this in life, right? People are so busy thinking about their futures that they don't even bother paying attention to the present. Of course, it's always good to have a loose plan of your future, and thinking about how you can make it even better, but these kind of thoughts can easily turn too serious, too over-consumming.
My teacher also gave me some advice. He said, "Think of the kind of vibrato you want to make on your current note, what type of sound you want to play out." He told me to think about how I can make the present note I was playing even better. I'm still not at that level of focusness, but I am getting closer to it. During my past few performances, I have tried to forget about my upcoming notes, instead just concentrating on what I was playing presently.
What I have slowly come to realize, and I hope that many others will too, is that thinking only about the future is not sufficient. The present is what shapes our future, so if we ignore the previous, all the effort we put into our future will probably won't be fulfilled. Instead, I find that dedicating ourself more to the present gives us a better understanding of what the future might hold.
Currently, I've been thinking of high school a lot. It's at once exciting and nerve wracking. But then I wonder, why look so far into the distance? Maybe I should just enjoy where I am right now, and settle my thoughts on that.
There is this fantastic quote that goes, "You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." (By Mae West) And I believe that to do it right, we have to take it day by day, by every laughter, every tear.
Maybe, just maybe, it's time to let the future go, and let our humble present guide us through life.