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#074 Time Spent
Common Discourse is a project designed to help others (and ourselves) think through creativity, focus, and intentional work—from Alex Tan & Alice Otieno.
Every Tuesday we share words from a journal, a few ideas, a quote from somebody else, and links worth sharing. On Fridays we invite a guest to share images from their camera roll and a sound that resonates with them. At the first of every month comes a long-form journal.
I spent a lot of time with my mother as a kid.
She educated my brothers and I at home until I was 13. She took us to the YMCA every morning, the library every afternoon, and the science museum every Friday. She cooked dinner every night, she drove me all over Ohio for sport practices and she always put our needs before her own.
I took all those things for granted in the moment, but looking back I can’t help but to think how much she sacrificed of her own life to give us the opportunities that I have today.
Prior to her trip to see me in Los Angeles last week, I found myself preoccupied with making sure she’d walk away getting the full LA experience:
Breakfast at Gjusta, a sunset drive on the PCH, a $22 smoothie from Erewhon.
My mother, so gentle and patient by nature, insisted that it didn’t matter what we did while she was there, and all that mattered was that we got to spend time together. It wasn’t until after the 2nd or 3rd time she stopped to touch and feel the wild succulents that I realized she wasn’t just trying to please me, but that she was telling the truth.
I saw a graph earlier last year that showed how Americans spend their time. It’s impossible to ignore the impending gloom that accompanies this information—that our time with spent with people, no matter how significant or insignificant, changes throughout our life.
My mom inadvertently made it clear that she understands this graph well, and while it’s against her will, our time together may be considered few and far between.
As a result, we skipped the museum, passed on a restaurant or two, walked slower, and opened up more.
And of course, it felt like we didn’t miss a thing.
A few ideas
I. IT COULD USE SOME SALT
Almost every great meal started as a lesser version at some point in time, until somebody along the way decided it needed less pepper, more garlic, or a rare spice. Thanks to them, food is less so fuel, and more so something to look forward to.
The same goes for great ideas. Rarely do the best ideas go untouched from conception to launch. They get tossed around, dismantled, put back together, and merged with other ideas—until its just right.
The choice is ours: To either serve as is, or to let others get a taste and be open when they say it could use some salt.
Many of us have confused influence with relevancy.
An “influencer” is most likely making noise instead of waves.
Sharing is easy. It’s much more difficult to get people to listen.
III. “THIS IS FINE”
To deem something as “fine” is a choice.
To settle for less. To prioritize something else. To live with the results.
Fine is the bare minimum, but it’s never the only option.
A quote from somebody else
“I believe one writes because one has to create a world in which one can live. I could not live in any of the worlds offered to me—the world of my parents, the world of war, the world of politics. I had to create a world of my own, like a climate, a country, an atmosphere in which I could breathe, reign, and recreate myself when destroyed by living.”
— The New Woman by Anaïs Nin
Links worth sharing
💐 The Degrees of Slowness by Chia is an essay that explores the varying ways that we can embrace the theme of slowness, and how it’s often a privillege to be able to live from that posture in a world that demands agility and speed.
🔢 The Solitude of Prime Numbers is an interview where the author Paolo Giordano discusses the parallels between literature, science and mathematics.
🎧 Listening History by Trudy Tube
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