"Time is a sort of river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away."
- Marcus Aurelius
As I get older & older & older (I now considering myself, as C.S. Lewis referred to himself, an 'Oldster') time seems to pass faster & faster & faster each and every day, each and every year.
I sit and sift through this often. Is it real? Is it simply perception? Is there more to be done these days? Or am I simply more aware of things & activities going on? Am I pulled more ways due to varied interests or am I simply chasing distractions to avoid myself? There are real, deep questions one has to ask when you start to examine your days.
Time passes, mornings gone, days finished, weeks spent, months gone. As I examine my life and habits and routines and activities, how I spend my days, like the Annie Dillard quote, is of course, how I spend my life. As I audit and review the ways I allocate my minutes, hours and days I find myself pleased with the direction of my life, the trajectory of my focus, the extrapolation of the ways I live.
There just doesn't seem to be the time to get it all done. As I unpack that and look at that statement, I'm constantly torn in the tension of reality versus rationalized perception.
I can't imagine these days, as I did for so long, what my life would look like if I tried to fit in a 50-60 hour work week into all of that. As it's done before, I feel it would only drive me to the brink of insanity, emotional bankruptcy, and soul-crushing depression.
I was recently offered an opportunity to go back to work full-time, and while in a worldly sense, this makes complete sense, in the soul-development, peace-of-mind sense it makes absolutely none. I said no. With grace. And humility. With appreciation and honesty.
I was having a conversation with a friend earlier today and referenced how, for me at least, it seems like my emotional, physical & spiritual well-being is nearly a full-time job in and of itself. Not like I do it 9-5 every day, but that as I blend in work, clients, projects, school, community, service, and relationships into the mixture of my life, I often find that my own space, time, retreat and rest are the opportunity cost of a fuller life.
And I know this isn't healthy. And it isn't sustainable. I'm outgoing. But I'm a hermit. I'm friendly, but also manically introverted. I'm able to run hard, do a bunch of stuff and fill my calendar with appointments and activities, but also absolutely must hold tight my space for rest & renewal. Without it, I'm a mess. Sometimes quickly, but often slowly and evading my awareness, it occurs. And then I crash, it's not pretty.
In The Inner Voice of Love, Henri Nouwen wrote: "God wants you to live for others and to live that presence well [...] your way of being present to your community may require times of absence, prayer, writing or solitude. These too are times for your community [...] This does not mean that you are selfish, abnormal, or unfit for community life. It means that your way of being present to your people necessitates personal nurturing of a special kind. Do not be afraid to ask for these things."
I read this and ponder this conundrum to be in my life that for me to be there, to be effective, to be fully present, to be balanced, to be healthy, to be available for others, I must maintain and keep space in my life for quiet, rest & solitude.
For the longest time, when I didn't and couldn't look within, I saw this as a hindrance to my ability to be present in this world for others. Today, I understand the deeper ways my mind, body & spiritual connection work in my life internal and my relationships with others.
Today, I hold tight to the time to keep whole and ask the universe, God & others in my life to allow me space to best love, serve & be with them.
There is so much to do, both out there and inside my mind & heart, I so often wish I could do it all. Today, I'm contented & confident in my ability to ask for and hold tight to the quiet times of rest & solitude.
There is no time problem, there are only choices. There is no busy, there are only priorities. There is no procrastination, there is only sloth. There are no excuses, because the rationalizations don't hold water.