A few days ago I had my first professional orchestra audition. Standard in the audition process is a part called sight reading where a piece is placed in front of you and you are expected to read and play it on the spot.
So there I was: just finished my prepared repertoire and about to play things on the spot for the panel of judges. They put a piece of paper in front of me and I tried my best to calmly play it, playing each note just slightly frantically. It was a short excerpt, only about three lines long. I had no clue what I was doing or if I was doing it right, I was just doing what my teacher advised me to: Whatever you do, don’t stop. So I didn’t. I played it through right to the end and it was only when I got to the last few notes that I realized… I knew this piece. And not only did I know the piece, it was one of my absolute favorite 20 seconds of music out of all the classical music I’ve ever heard. To be specific, it was an excerpt from Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra.
A wave of disappointment and regret washed over me then. The feeling that… if only I had realized before playing that it was that piece, I wouldn’t have sounded so lost and clueless while playing it. I would have played it much better and with more musicality, since I knew it inside out. In truth, it wasn’t for the sake of the audition that I felt this way – after all, this was the sight reading portion and hardly anyone ever perfects this part. But it was because I loved this piece so much and had dreamed of performing it someday. I couldn’t help but laugh half-heartedly at what just happened: I had just played one of the pieces of my dreams, but didn’t know I was until it was over.
Later on as I was thinking it over, I couldn’t help but wonder if this is another little life lesson in disguise. What if we actually spend our lives dreaming about living a certain life and only afterwards look back and realize we’ve been living that life all the time – but missed it? What if we spend all our time wanting certain things and then look back and only when it’s over realize we had those things all along? There’s a quote I love that sums it up: Don’t let the things you want make you forget the things you have.
I was once listening to a religions class that explained that in one word, Judaism would be about “sanctification.” About taking “normal” everyday things and elevating them. That’s why there are blessings for practically every single moment in life: because every moment in life is worth taking note of and thanking G-d for. So often we all wait for big things to happen that we miss the thousands of small miracles that take place everyday and more importantly, the many miracles WE can make happen everyday. There is one blessing in particular I love that goes, “Blessed are you L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has provided for all my needs.” Note: ALL my needs. This means that everything I have now is ALL I need, and I never actually lack anything. It’s one of the most beautiful, comforting one-liners I know. Because you know? G-d purposely designed each of our lives for each of us. All we need is a little faith that we are living the life that is just right for us, and no other life would have suited us any better.
Wishing all of us a beautiful week, and after 120 years, may we not look back on our lives to note with regret that we were so busy chasing a certain kind of life that we didn’t notice we were already living it.
Bernice is a Noahide from the Philippines who spends most of her time playing violin, being involved in musicology research, and writing about various topics (her favorite being Judaism). The rest of the time, she can be found drinking coffee, reading, and convincing herself to workout.