“Lost time is never found again” – Benjamin Franklin
Everything comes down to time. It is the very stuff of life; the warp and the weft. The only things we truly have are: our bodies, our energy, and our attention; and all three of these exist within that box of delights we call ‘time’.
If you’re aware of this homespun truth already then it likely informs your most every decision; if you remain unaware… well, you will probably come to it at some point, and I pray for you that it is not at too late an hour, when the clock is already striking twelve and the sand is all but run dry.
When I lived in London I met an photographer holding her very first exhibition. She told me she had recently gone ‘all in’ on photography. When I asked her why, she told me this story:
She had been with her boyfriend in a jeep traveling overland across the blistering outback of Australia when, miles away from anywhere they happened upon an old man trying unsuccessfully to change the wheel of a broken down Landrover. It was a truly impressive machine but, try as he might, the old man was not able to loosen the wheel nuts. The heat had been intense. They stopped to help. While her boyfriend was changing the wheel she had struck up a conversation with the old man, asking how he had arrived in this somewhat precarious situation.
It turned out that it had been the lifelong dream of him and his wife to make an overland trip across and around the whole of the Australian outback. They’d both worked jobs they didn’t like, saving all the money that they could and foregoing holidays each year, all the while planning their perfect journey.
‘The holiday of a lifetime’ he had called it, looking down at the ground and scuffing one foot in the dust.
Finally the day was come. They had the best equipment money could buy and a pair of first class tickets. On the flight, they had sipped champagne, as giddy as children.
The problems had started the very first night. They had driven out and pitched their ‘top of the line’ tent. But his wife’s arthritis had instantly flared up, and the humidity didn’t agree with his lungs, so sleep would not come. From there on things had only gotten worse. So much worse that by the end of the first month his wife had given up on their dream, changed her ticket and flown home without him. He had stubbornly vowed to complete the trip but admitted that he was having second thoughts about it. ‘I miss my wife and, if you two hadn’t come along I honestly don’t know if I would have been ok’ he told them quietly as they were getting ready to leave.
It had come on fast, like a rush of cold water, as they were driving away and watching him recede downcast in their rear view mirror; her heart had broken a little and, in that exact moment, she’d decided to give photography (the thing that she had always secretly wanted to do but had always put off until ‘later’) a real shot.
Every decision is a trade off. What you choose to focus on will determine the very shape your life and your character; for good or for ill.
Everything, everything comes down to time.
So come now, do not delay;
It is much later than you think.
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