Tuesday, June 30, 2015

We get an extra second today. A leap second. Just before (or at?) midnight apparently. The clock will turn to 29:59:59 and then to 29:59:60 - and then it will be midnight. To correct the ever-slowing turning of the earth apparently. 

I plan to take full advantage of this second. I've been breezing along this June, preoccupied with having fun. And then all of a sudden, it became 30.06.15 and I'm on holiday in four days and my cast have not a stitch to wear, not a prop to call their own, not a programme to explain their artistry, not a press release to promote their fame - and a director who's been so obsessed with what she will wear to a wedding (not even her own!) that her head hasn't afforded her space or consideration for anything else. Good show.

It seems I'm not alone in my inability to manage multiple demands on my time. I've just read a book which could eerily be a study of my life. Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainthan and Eldar Shafir. It seems that Sendhil is a professor of economics at Harvard and Eldar is a professor of Psychology at Princeton. The biographies on the opening page don't mention whether either is also an enthusiastic practitioner of amateur theatre. 

The book is subtitled 'the true cost of not having enough'. The cost, they posit, is a reduced capacity to make smart decisions. Whether you have not enough money, not enough time or not enough blueberries (as discussed in their test case), the lack does not free your mind to focus on what you do have. Instead, it narrows your mind - it makes you obsessed - with what you don't have. So you worry and weep about it - but worry so much that you can't focus to make sensible decisions about the time / money that you do have. 

My brothers, I embrace you. This is how I spend my (extremely limited) time. Fretting always that I'm short-changing everyone and everything I turn my hand to. Imagining fictional nights of freedom that I'll spend doing this or seeing that person. Only to remember that actually, I'm working or rehearsing or attending two separate social occasions simultaneously already, to the dissatisfaction of all involved. 

I obsess about how different my life would IF I had time. How much better and excellent I would be in all ways. The smart one would spend this time thinking about her to do list and scoring things off. Instead, I am the tortoise, always scuttling (slowly and unproductively) towards disaster.

So today, I embrace this extra second. I shall endeavour to use it wisely. As this big old world won't keep on turning more slowly for ever.


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