Tempus Fugit

Around me, my friends are passing 50.

As a gift, last Saturday I trawled through more than 30 years of photos, digital and pre-digital, collating images of an old mate.

What an absorbing and enjoyable activity, traveling back in time, revisiting shared adventures, mischief and life’s milestones.

In all this looking back, what struck me was how quickly the years roll by.

The inexorable and most obvious metric being the sprouting upward of children …

Our past time is spent, invested, splashed and frittered; who can really discern in the midst of all the living?

Only later on reflection, the accretion of choices and how we used our allotment maybe makes sense.

So I ponder out another 30 years (touch wood), how quickly will they pass?

And what will be the view in looking back from then?

Perhaps like gazing upwards through leaves into the sky …

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On Plateaus

I grew up on a plateau, literally.

A strong formative memory is of sweeping views across hills to a saddle-backed mountain range.

These days however, reaching a plateau in your studies or career or business or personally, is typically viewed as a negative, we’ve stalled.

Isn’t progress an ever upward, straight line to mastery?

Perhaps it takes a while, but eventually we may notice that life and growth are non-linear.

Periods of success, learning and gains are often followed by dips and regression as things get hard or old habits re-assert. Two steps forward, one step back, if we are fortunate and persistent.

But what about times when nothing much changes? When we circle in one place? When ennui or staleness haunts us? When we reach a plateau?

Shouldn’t we be cracking on? Breaking through? Figuring it all out and innovating relentlessly?

How exhausting …

On a plateau we are granted time to look around, to take stock, to consolidate, to noodle on the side gig, to rest and regenerate.

Old salts know that when the wind doesn’t blow, it’s time to attend to the small jobs neglected when sails are full.

We can count on it, the next burst of activity or challenge will appear.

And in this way, we are ready.

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