38 Days and Counting – Trips

As I sat down last night to see if I could capture my thoughts for the day, just 38 days before our team leaves for Africa, I was wordless. I was tired from one of the many trips I have scheduled. Yesterday’s was an important journey for several reasons — not things I’ll go into here. But when I pulled my car into the garage and gathered my things, I felt empty. Tired. Even though I had experienced a really fine day.

A few days ago, I wrote about interruptions. Trips aren’t really interruptions. Okay, maybe they are, but they are planned interruptions. Regardless of how important they are, when we are pressed for time, those things we agreed to do seem to haunt us. “If I had only known” we groan.

Many times the purpose of the trip — the reason we go — isn’t part of the agony. Like my trip yesterday. I am so glad that I was able to attend that meeting and sit with some remarkably gifted and motivated people for a little while. Yet, as I drove home, with my fellow traveler nodding off to sleep in the passenger seat, I began to panic over the time I was losing.

Star-Trekkian transporter technology is looking pretty good. Even those little trips I’ve scheduled across town — the one to the dentist on Thursday and the outing to Best Buy to purchase power adapters for the trip to Africa — seem especially irritating because I feel like I’m wasting time just getting from Point A to B. Just to show how deep this reaches, I would really like to have another cup of coffee right now. But I’m holding out because I would have to walk to the coffeemaker . . . on the other side of my office.

So, since I seem to be obsessed with the actual travel involved in going places, I thought I would see if I could find some especially insightful quote about the “journey.” I found over 500. Most of them made me more anxious. “I tramp a perpetual journey,” Walt Whitman said. I didn’t find that inspirational at all. I did find a couple by some rappers/urban poets that resonated with me. Unfortunately, to keep this blog rated PG-13, I can’t share them with you.

“I don’t have time for this” is a statement always uttered as I take time for whatever it is I claim I don’t have time for. Unless, of course, it is taking time to correct grammatical errors like those in the previous sentence. I am not going back to rewrite that one.

Why can’t all the details and miles and phone calls and emails be handled by someone else?

As I muttered and complained about my plight and the unfair demands being placed on my life, I flipped through my morning email and I saw this quote from Seth Godin.

JUST LEAVE ME TO DO MY WORK! By now, you’ve probably realized: This isn’t going to happen. Not as completely or as flawlessly as we’d like to hope. We need the leverage that comes from working with other people, but that leverage also means that we’re responsible. People who do great work also embrace the fact that this is their work too. It’s not merely an interruption or a distraction, it’s part of what they do. There are no monasteries reserved for productive, successful artists who regularly ship inspiring work. Our culture responds to instigators and impresarios who figure out how to make a ruckus in a complicated world.

So, to my team members, as you make countless trips and you push to quell that inner panic of seeing the seconds, minutes, hours and days slip past, take a minute and breathe. All of your experiences — even these — will bring you to the place you need to be. We have 38 more days. And we have many, many trips to make before we board that plane to Africa.

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2 thoughts on “38 Days and Counting – Trips

  1. The concept of time is something I am fascinated with. We spend time, waste time, earn paid time, give time, find time, do time, take time … the list of verbs we place in front of this concept tells us more about ourselves than “time.” Because “time” does not even exist. It is simply a measurement of control we have placed on ourselves to categorize and order our lives. I try to imagine a life without “time” and realize all I have to do is release myself from the illusion that time even exists at all.

    • Robyn, I like that idea of “release.” Even though order does have its merits, we have become prisoners — perhaps even slaves — to our clocks and calendars. I recently had the opportunity to visit a house of prayer where silence and solitude were the main features of the retreat. The constraints of time melted away and I was surprised by the ways my mind opened to new thoughts and I was able to explore new possibilities. You might want to talk with my son. He is ABD in his doctoral program in linguistics at UT. Much of the work he has done with his professors has been centered on language derived from time concepts. Thanks for sharing!