Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure? Measure a year?
Jonathan Larson’s song “Seasons of Love” posed this question to an eager audience at Rent’s debut in 1996. Twenty-five years later, the question remains: How do you measure a year?
In grocery trips?
In rush-hour traffic jams?
In lines on your face?
In parent-teacher interviews?
In board books and bedtime snuggles?
Metering life in minutes is a fascinating way to think about time. I didn’t consider the significance of a minute until I sold my car in my early 20s. Suddenly, I relied solely on public transit. My daily commute called for impeccable timing.
Sometimes I’d fall prey to pausing for a hot cappuccino. I think you see where this is going.
I quickly learned a 60-second delay could result in hustling half a block to catch a bus or, I don’t know, maybe sprinting a mile and showing up for a job interview with flushed cheeks and sweat dripping down my face. (Yes, it happened. Somehow I still landed the job.)
We’re living in a world where people everywhere are re-evaluating their relationship with time. 2020 turned our days inside out. It was the wake-up call no one asked for, but I think of it as a back-handed blessing. The pandemic forced us all to take stock of priorities and pivot accordingly.
People say time is money. This seems logical. We manage it, save it, invest it.
The crucial distinction, of course, is that time, unlike money, cannot be borrowed or earned. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
And to borrow Annie Dillard’s wise words, how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. Who among us wants to mindlessly forfeit our most precious commodity?
This quarter’s collection of articles and essays is both timely and timeless. We’ve enrolled award-winning authors and other fascinating people to offer fresh answers to familiar questions.
- What defines healthy time management?
- How can we minimize distractions for good?
- Is working late a wise way to get ahead?
You’ll meet a woman whose creativity turned her life around one stitch at a time. You’ll see through the eyes of a comedian with two boys, nowhere to go, and all the time in the world. Most importantly, you’ll walk away inspired with practical tools for the year ahead.
Unlike a rushed morning commute, now’s a great time to pause for a beverage. We invite you to linger over this issue and process at your own pace.
May these words propel you to greet the year ahead with clarity and joy. May you enjoy 365 days’ worth of purpose and quality time, with yourself and with others. I say that’s a fine way to measure a year.
With you on the minute-by-minute journey,
Elissa Joy Watts
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