When I am working on a piece of music, I am very conscious of the temporal elements. How do different sections relate to one another in length? How much time am I spending on a particular theme? Am I giving the listener enough time to take it in, or am I surpassing a typical listener's attention span? Sometimes, I find myself writing more music to extend a portion of a piece that flits by too quickly, and on other occasions I cast aside something that just doesn't work in the pacing of a piece. Ideally, I want each portion of a work to take just the right amount of time to be appreciated and to relate well to the grand scheme of the piece. Of course, I don't know what any listener's actual experience is going to be, so I rely on what works for my own ears and trust the music.
This week, I have had a series of days in which I didn't do everything I had intended with my day. There are goals I have in several different areas of my life, and when I am not pushing forward toward all of them, I have had a tendency to beat myself up. It is as if I have to cover new ground each day or else I will be doomed to failure.
This isn't reality, though. Far from it. There is something in each step to appreciate, and moving on too quickly would be like cutting short a section in a piece of music. When I take the time to truly recognize what I am gaining from being where I am in this moment, I am better prepared for what comes next. If I go careening forward in a mad attempt to accomplish more and get where I'm headed faster, I can easily slip into panic mode. Today, I am listening to myself a little better. I have plenty of things I want to do today, but I also realize that I have tomorrow. And the day after that. And I am where I am supposed to be right now.