On Wednesday afternoon I sat in the dark on the floor in the toddler room, holding the last wakeful child. All of her classmates were sound asleep. She was quiet, yet not ready to surrender to nap time. I began rocking her gently, and she soon drifted off to sleep. As I held her, I thought of her grandmother, who used to work at the Seed in the 1980s. Those were the glory days when her dad, aunt, and uncle were Seed students. It struck me how quickly time had passed, and I wondered how it could possibly have happened so soon. Looking ahead, I could easily imagine the sleeping child in my arms turning into a young girl in the blink of an eye. Time is a tricky thing.
In his blog this week, Seth Godin explores the concept of cognitive load, “the total amount of mental activity imposed on working memory in any one instant.” Seth has this to say: “Without habits, every decision requires attention. And attention is exhausting. And it’s stressful because the choices made appear to be expensive. There’s a significant opportunity cost to doing this not that. You’re leaving tomorrow, what are you going to skip? What if it’s not worth the line? What are you missing?…Every minute on a website is a minute not spent doing something else.” All of this, from my perspective, is about choices we make regarding how we use our time and brain power. Once again, time arises as a theme.
As I progress through this life here on Planet Earth, how I utilize my precious time is becoming more and more of a decision. Lately I’ve been reviewing what I’m doing that gives me joy and what activities feel more like an obligation. I’m asking myself what parts of my life feel the most ephemeral (e.g. grandchildren growing up quickly) and figure out ways to be more present to them. I’m also noticing that I need more time to myself for art, quiet reflection, or desert mountain hikes. When these needs are met, the time for work and service of others holds more for all of us.
Speaking of time, I hope you’ll have plenty of it to attend our annual Seed picnic this weekend. It’s on Saturday, April 13, from 11 A.M. to 2 P.M. A highlight of the event is the final bidding on our beautiful collection of student art, which is on display in the hallway at the moment. It’s an unusually creative collection this year, and the proceeds will support our outdoor education programs. Bring a blanket, chairs, delicious food to share, your own plates and utensils, and plan to have a glorious gathering with family and friends. I guarantee it will be time well spent.