Sunday, August 28, 2011

Now is the time

Even in Kyoto, I long for Kyoto – Basho

On paper, I have all the free time I can handle. And yet I don’t have enough of it.

This summer, my wife and I rented a condo in downtown Chicago for three months. We wanted to enjoy the city. The idea was to take leisurely walks and explore whatever caught our fancy. A summer vacation in our own city.

As soon as we moved in, we started discovering more things to do. Music concerts, festivals, library talks, author lectures, performances, new places to eat. I took on some consulting work. Thanks to Twitter, we discovered that there was great music every Thursday night, a neighborhood tour on Tuesdays, a foreign film festival every Wed, and jazz at lunch and lots more things. Friends and family came over to visit and stay. Pretty soon, we had so many engagements that we had to pick and choose.

In no time, my calendar was so full that I was just as busy as when I had a full time job. But this post is not about the numerous things to do in Chicago.

My main point is that there is never going to be enough time in life to do the things we want to. Each day, all of us are offered such an assortment of pleasurable diversions to choose from that we'll never have the kind of time in future that we secretly hope we will. Lennon was spot on when he reminded us to pay attention 'when we are busy making other plans.' No matter how many times we hear the cliché, this journey is the destination. This is it.

I am now convinced that our thinking is flawed when we say "Some day I am going to …" or when we tell ourselves "After I am done with this, I am going to get to the things I really want to." That's not quite the way things will unfold.

The real trick for each of us is to figure out how to do the soul-enriching things that we love and enjoy even as we do the things that occupy us day to day. Because this is it.