If you haven't read Part I, please read it first! It'll probably give a bit more context for what's to come.
To recap, I wrote about directions and how they are necessary for the journey to our destination, and used practicing as something relatable to us (at least for musicians). But those are akin to taking a picture of a flower (micro) than of the entire plant (macro). And in this post, I'd like to write about the macro - Life itself. Having micro-directions in Life is great, but it must always be paired up with the macro.
True story: Lau Wen Rong, one of Singapore's top trumpet players, set his goal from young - he wanted to join the Singapore Symphony Orchestra. And I knew of this because when I met Wen Rong during my YST days, he would mention it to me every now and then. I always admired him for having such a firm goal and in 2017, he achieved it by joining the orchestra.
As a friend, I am super proud of his achievement! His dedication, hard work, and perseverance have led him to where he is now, and have allowed him to play and sound like the million bucks he is today.
So how do the micro and macro work in tandem?
If you read Part I, you'll know I mentioned that having a musical direction gives me something to strive for and to look forward to. But, the fact is that I also get occasional bouts of doubt and often, a sense of wandering. And these thoughts and feelings come in waves (at least for me). Coincidentally, they also feel like waves crashing on the shore of the beach, where you hear this natural lilt of the swishing and swooshing sounds, alternating between moments of chaos and excitement (where things get really busy and I'm always looking forward to the next project), and silence and reflection (where things are calmer and I suddenly feel lost, as though without a sense of purpose). I've felt this a couple of times over the past 2 years since returning from Peabody, but it was only recently through reflection and speaking about it with family and friends that made me realise why I was feeling this way - it was all because of the lack of direction in the macro.
Last year, I said that I wanted to be a versatile player, to be able to perform and satisfy the musical needs of my colleagues, friends, and peers. I still feel that way, but unfortunately, it's not a good enough direction if we talk about the macro. I am working towards that goal by practicing different instruments and expanding my skills, but it's different from setting a 'Life goal' of sorts. Kind of like a recent post I made, we should also ask ourselves "Where do I see myself in 5 years?" - and while it may seem trivial at first, this is actually an extremely important question to ask and reflect upon!
Taking Wen Rong's journey as an example, he knew his destination was the SSO, and so he made out his road map, planned out his directions, committed and executed the journey, and is now where he wants to be. Like him, I believe that we too, need to ask ourselves that macro question, which I've broken down to help:
- What is my destination? (Where do I see myself in 5 years? What do I see myself doing in 3 years?)
- How am I going to get to my destination? (What are my directions? What must I do in order to get there?)
After which, all that we have to do is to journey towards that destination, keeping our goals in our sights. We also have to bear in mind that everything comes with time, and we need the patience for things to develop, mature, grow, and ultimately blossom. I'm not saying that all will be smooth-sailing - in fact, it probably will not, but it is always more comforting and enduring to work towards a specific goal than to be adrift and ponder when that big break will come.
Just like our thoughts and decisions, our direction is something only we can control. So take charge of your direction, and set them as your goals from here on out. For me, as of now, I will still need to do some soul-searching to figure it out. But I have a feeling that once I do, I'm going to make the most out of it.
It wasn't easy writing this, especially since I'm laying my honest and intimate feelings. But in this day and age of social media and perfection, I think a little imperfection helps to keep us human. I hope you were able to take something out of this and hopefully, keep with you on your journey.. or at least make it more pleasant and meaningful. As always, thank you for taking the time to read! I'll be making an announcement soon but till then, stay safe and be well!