Time isn’t real. The future is an abstraction. So says Alan Watts. I do rush things to get to the end of them—not always, but often enough for it to be a thing I’ve noticed over and over again throughout my life. I didn’t rush in my twenties. Rushing is something that started for me after my son was born, when the enormous pressure of being responsible for the life of another human being hit me. That was the moment I realised that whatever I wanted to do with my life had to fit around being a father first and foremost. Children require attention, a seemingly endless amount of it, and giving it to them is both one of life’s great privileges, pleasures and sacrifices.
I can say truthfully that I did not rush my time with either of my children. I did a good job of being present with them and really experiencing fatherhood. The same with being a husband. I suppose it’s because I valued relationships, emotions and connection over my career, ambition, money or status. I don’t think I got the balance right, but at the same time I did the best I could with what I had. Perhaps that’s a psychological sleight of hand to make myself feel better about it. I don’t know.
I followed my father and grandfather in being a technician rather than a manager. I spent large portions of my time thinking about what to do rather than doing things. I didn’t keep up old friendships. I stayed in jobs for long periods of time rather than working my way up any ladders. None of these things were mistakes, though they sometimes feel like that, but they were choices, whether I was conscious of them or not.
All of which is to say, I am here, with this life behind me, and possibilities ahead. In this moment, writing this post, I am choosing not to rush, but instead listening to what I want to say to myself and letting the words flow through my fingers. Before starting to type, I was worrying over what film to watch, what book to read next, whether to push harder at the story I’m trying to finish for the end of the month, or if I should do yoga, crack through some chores, or worst of all worlds, start browsing through Twitter. Actually what I needed to do was sit quietly and listen. And here we are.