Recently, I have been thinking about time.
(1) It started when I was listening (devouring) this podcast featuring civil rights activist Vincent Harding. He discusses the notion of time in our technology-driven, instant-gratification society, and how we have forgotten that some things take years and even lifetimes to see through. I certainly am guilty of impatience in this way, and it’s a beautiful reminder for me to calm down and steadily pursue the things that are most important to me.
(2) Attuned to this idea of patience, I found a similar theme in this documentary I saw last weekend. Not all work yields immediate results, and especially not the kind of work it takes to heal broken relationships and communities. Attempting to heal fractured spaces requires truth-telling, and learning to believe truth takes time. Lots of time. How many relationships have been fractured with a lie? If you are told you’re not good enough, how many times do you need to hear “You are of value” to reverse the lie? Something like once a day for the rest of your life? Steady pursuit; this is important work.
(3) On pushing past the need for instant-gratification. As a creative person, I need to hear this everyday:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.— Ira Glass
(4) A different tune, but some of the same notes: These works of art take much time to create, and much less time to be naturally destroyed.
(5) Lastly: An interesting series on (literal) things that matter most during a lifetime, and what would be saved if time was short.
What is your time for?