I’m reading Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. What an eye-opener. The premise is that we have four thousand weeks if we’re lucky. And how do we plan to spend them?
Constantly chasing after the next carrot, running on a symbolic treadmill, or simply accepting that we can’t do it all and focusing on what matters to us the most?
Burkeman writes, “Research shows that this feeling arises on every rung of the economic ladder. If you’re working two minimum-wage jobs to put food in your children’s stomachs, there’s a good chance you’ll feel overstretched. But if you’re better off, you’ll find yourself feeling overstretched for reasons that seem, to you, no less compelling: because you have a nicer house with higher mortgage payments, or because the demands of your (interesting, well-paid) job conflict with your longing to spend time with your aging parents, or to be more involved in your children’s lives, or to dedicate your life to fighting climate change. As the law professor Daniel Markovits has shown, even the winners in our achievement-obsessed culture — the ones who make it to the elite universities, then reap the highest salaries — find that their reward is the unending pressure to work with ‘crushing intensity’ in order to maintain the income and status that have come to seem like prerequisites for the lives they want to lead.”
Burkeman also writes, “Rather than taking ownership of our lives, we seek out distractions, or lose ourselves in busyness and the daily grind, so as to try to forget our real predicament. Or we try to avoid the intimidating responsibility of having to decide what to do with our finite time by telling ourselves that we don’t get to choose at all — that we must get married, or remain in a soul-destroying job, or anything else, simply because it’s the done thing.”
Our time is finite. Our possibilities are endless. Action is the X-Factor. What do we want to do with the time we have?