I came across Billy Joel’s Vienna last summer and it really struck a chord, particularly because of the time when I heard it. I had just graduated from university and I was so terrified because although the future is always uncertain, for the first time in my life I really didn’t know what was next. I was afraid that I wasn’t doing enough, that I was stuck, that I wasn’t doing ‘life’ right.
Slow down, you crazy child
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, then tell me
Why are you still so afraid?
Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You’d better cool it off before you burn it out
You’ve got so much to do
And only so many hours in a day
The song is about not worrying so much about where life will take you and instead focusing on where you are right now. It’s about slowing down and enjoying life. There’s no rush to get anywhere, and that’s something that really resonated with me because I had put so much pressure on myself to hurry up and figure out what I wanted to do “for the rest of my life” right now.
You’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know
You can’t always see when you’re right. (You’re right.)
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to stay in the present and embrace the journey. Too often we get down on ourselves and focus on where we think we’re failing. To me, this song is saying, “You’re on the right path. You’re going to get there, just be at peace and enjoy where you are right now.”
Why don’t you realize, Vienna waits for you.
Game Plan: Give yourself permission to slow down and take a break. Though it’s great to keep hustling on your dream, remember that if you don’t get your whole to-do list done today because you decided to go for a bike ride, sit outside and read a book, or go to your brother’s baseball game, you’re still going to have a successful day.