The day is burdened by a list of too many unchecked boxes. It is a day with hardly a moment to breathe, to feel the satisfaction of holding air in lungs full to capacity, followed by the slow and purposeful exhale that synchronizes my heart with the meter of this seaside life. The beauty of catch and release lost in the hyperventilation of a race against the clock on this errand laden day. Today, I am the picture of efficiency, transactional, a doer. This cadence of stressed beats an unwelcome rhythm as I tick off each box on ‘The List.’ Today is all about concentric circles of routine, mindless steps and glassy stares at places familiar to me. On another day, one not stretched beyond its limits, I would look upon the faces of these people with whom I have through the advent of my routine here built relationships and smile, ask after their loved ones, their interests, their lives. We share a history that began transactionally and has softened into something more. But not today. This is a day of pace, of unconscious consciousness, rife with preoccupation, of hearing not listening.
I am no longer accustomed to days like this, where the sheer weight of each filled hour is in deference to some objective. There was a time, not too long ago, when there were no unaccounted for hours and living life reverberated in triple time, schedules and meetings, commutes, the exhaustive demands of excess, and most importantly, the decision to live apart. It was a life of ‘buts’ and ‘ands’ strung together in the finite progression of time: this AND that, here AND there, BUT if not for that, I love you BUT. These are the conjunctions of the time-starved human doing more with the unrelenting less of fixed and metered increments of seconds, minutes, hours. Hours that too quickly become days, and days that string rapidly to years. Moments forever lost along the path from instant to infinite.
How many years constitute a lifetime? This lifetime? My lifetime? I asked myself this at the beginning of my second year of photographic living, a year that coincided with a milestone birthday, a birthday saddled with the recognition that there are fewer years in front of me than behind. I am unapologetically sentimental about crossing this rubicon confident I possess a renewed vulnerability that springs from the wisdom of facing fears and outliving them, and the certainty that if we, as humans, are to make ourselves available to the goodness the universe has to offer us, we must make conscious choices about our time and how we invest it.