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As Time Goes By

Happy New Year!

2023 is here and all the years before are receding backward on the timeline. They have left their mark and will continue to impact our tomorrow’s when we least expect it.

For years whenever I came across a good paragraph or phrase, I would copy it down into a notebook.To mark the passing of another year I share a very small selection of the best writing on the topic of “time”.

Time and History 

“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.”

“Each person’ life is dominated by a central event, which shapes and distorts everything that comes after it and, in retrospect, everything that came before.” 

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past”

“The past is a life sentence, a blunt instrument aimed at tomorrow.”

“No one who lives long enough can be surprised to find their biography has been molded by distant events, by other people’s wills, with little or no participation from our own decisions. Those long processes that end up running into our life — sometimes to give it the shove it needed, sometimes to blow to smithereens our most splendid plans — tend to be hidden like subterranean currents, like tiny shifts of tectonic plates, and when the earthquake finally comes we invoke the words we’ve learned to calm ourselves, accident, fluke and sometimes fate.”

Time and Change.

“Now I weigh about 160 pounds. When I left the hospital after being treated for a burst appendix, I weighed 140. When I was nine months pregnant and starving every second, I weighed 210. I have been everything from size 4 to 14. I have been the life of the party and a drag. I have been broke and loaded, clinically depressed and radiantly happy. Spread out over the years, I’m a harem.”

“We will lose everything we love in the end. But why should that matter so much? By definition, we do not live in the end: we live all along the way. The smitten lovers who marvel every day at the miracle of having met each other are right; it is finding that is astonishing. You meet a stranger passing through your town and know within days you will marry her. You lose your job at fifty-five and shock yourself by finding a new calling ten years later. You have a thought and find the words. You face a crisis and find your courage.”

Time and Impermanence 

“Fading moments of the now”

“You can’t get attached to the moments she said. They fly away. “

“All of this is made more precious, not less, by its impermanence. No matter what goes missing, the wallet or the father, the lessons are the same. Disappearance reminds us to notice, transience to cherish, fragility to defend. Loss is a kind of external conscience, urging us to make better use of our finite days. As Whitman knew, our brief crossing is best spent attending to all that we see: honoring what we find noble, denouncing what we cannot abide, recognizing that we are inseparably connected to all of it, including what is not yet upon us, including what is already gone. We are here to keep watch, not to keep.”

Time and Erosion

“His face was like a mirror, and it was better not to look”

“Only a couple of years had passed in fact. But he looks considerably hammered at by the interval”

“His face was fuller, his center of gravity lower”

“But after all this is America where you can swap out the parts of yourself that do not work”

Time and Living

“Narrative is the strategy of the mind for putting things in relation. You try to get lined up”

“Our need day to day to calibrate, adjust and maintain our equilibrium”

“Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final”

“The business of life is the acquisition of memories. That is all there is.”

Sicilian photography by Rishad Tobaccowala

Rishad Tobaccowala is an author, speaker, educator and advisor who helps people see, think and feel differently about growth. Growth of their business, their teams and themselves. For more about Rishad Tobaccowala click here.

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