Vienna waits for you...

A call to action anthem


From Vienna by Billy Joel:

Slow down you crazy child
You're so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you're so smart tell me
Why are you still so afraid? (mmmmm)…

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want
Or you can just get old…

When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Woof… Billy, why you gotta touch my soul like that?!?

I was listening to this silky smooth tune while sitting in a hot tub on a moonlit evening in Montana, just staring at the stars. Accompanied by fellow mountain men, Alex & Henry, the lyrics of this classic left us speechless.

As Billy belted these verses, it felt like he was talking directly to me - a young, ambitious juvenile. A guy with big dreams and every opportunity to pursue them. And yet, I often find myself holding back, waiting for the “right time” to start living.

When he dropped the line, “You can get what you want or you can just get old”, it’s as if he reached into my soul and pulled out the questions that I haven’t been willing to confront:

What am I waiting for?

Am I waiting for a sign?
Or am I just waiting to die?

What’s stopping me?
Why not me?

The elderly can be a bitter bunch. Maybe it’s because their hips & knees ain’t what they used to be, but I’d venture to say that it’s more likely because they let their life pass away.

Opportunities arose, opportunities passed. As they collected more years, they racked up more regrets.

It’s a refrain far older than those who speak it:
“If only I had more time. I’m old now. What I’d do to have my whole life ahead of me, like you!”

So Billy directs this song at the youth, the ones with mountains of opportunity. The ones we so often envy.

Yet, even in youth, the belief that we have endless amounts of time can lead to endless inaction. Our classic refrain becomes:
“When the time is right”

Then, we look up and it’s too late. We’ve already become a part of the bitter bunch. Life has passed us by.

So, here goes Billy, gifting us this symbol of Vienna. Reminding us that the place we want to go, the thing we want to do, the life we want to lead is just waiting for us to seize the opportunity.

Henry’s Vienna was making music, which he’s actively pursuing.

Alex’s Vienna was moving to Bozeman, which he did.

Andy’s Vienna was moving to a beach town in Mexico, which he did (after escaping Shawshank through a sewer in a thunder storm). He’s on the same wavelength as Billy Joel when he says to his old friend, Red:

Get busy living or get busy dying

Andy's words ring true, because, in the end...
Youth isn't an age, it's an attitude.
And Vienna isn't a place, it's a pursuit.

So, what’s your Vienna?
And what’s stopping you from packing your bag and hopping on a plane?

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