Human language conveys no truer statement than, “There isn’t adequate time.”
Think of it - dates, deadlines, daily to-do’s. We’re awash in a sea of potentially infinite tasks with only finite time. It’s little wonder that we fear drowning.
There are 24 hours in a given day, 7 days in an arbitrarily chosen week, a set number of months that dictate the completion of a year, and we are powerless against it.
Limitations can be maddening. They hem in your ambition and winnow down your zeal until you realize, simply and depressingly, that you must choose - what to keep and what to lose.
I’ve discovered that I can, at peak levels of energy and time management, devote myself fully to 2 things. (Individual mileage may vary.)
This discovery came in December, when I was certainly not at peak and work commitments had begun to balloon at a steady, unyielding pace. The urgency in the office was palpable, making weekdays fly by in a cacophonous roar of critical tasks.
I loved it.
I also cried a lot.
My relationship suffered because I would return home exhausted and worn, like a threadbare Teddy Rupskin whose batteries provided just enough power to garble out unintelligible and faintly malevolent noise.
My sweet Spanish lover was understandably concerned, both for me and the relationship, when I muttered darkly one night that, “I only [knew] how to love one thing at a time.”
It’s an interesting problem to present to your lover - infidelity via career. And that’s not an exaggeration - I say “infidelity” because it was obvious to anyone looking that I was deeply and destructively in love with my job. I didn’t have time for loving other things because…there simply wasn’t time left.
In response to this and to his credit, S kidnapped me and locked me away in a remote cabin with only friends, food, and the faintest ghost of cell reception. One could rightly equate my capture and week-long incarceration to rehab.
After “sobering up” and finding myself marooned in the woods, subject to infinite time and negligible tasks, I realized something important.
That “something” was this - for all the restrictions imposed by planetary rotation, a greater hurdle to happiness is singular devotion. Loving *one* thing, however time-consuming, makes us hollow.
I realize that may not seem consistent, given that I began this post by mourning an unequal time-to-task ratio.
But it makes sense to me somehow. I was often annoyed in past relationships, which were devoid of rivals, because I found myself investing enormous energy and getting deficient emotional returns. The same dynamic was becoming evident at work, because a job (however challenging and good) cannot give you everything even if you give it everything.
In short - and to suss out the seeming paradox of too-little time and too-few tasks - I discovered the necessity of choosing.
Adequate time with inadequate outlets for devotion will make you crazy. Likewise, excessive outlets can erode one’s sanity if coupled with too little time.
The secret is choice - loving selectively but also loving enough.
Time has us, on all sides, hemmed in by clock ticks and inevitability. But the power we have - the hidden happiness we can plant in our lives - is choosing how to expend time’s limited resources.