Discovered this poem mid-paper, a lovely calming moment in the middle of a hectic day. Week. Month? Year? Lifetime?
Time to plant trees is when you’re young
So you will have them to walk among –
So aging, you can walk in shade
That you and time together made.
–James Hayford, “Time To Plant Trees”
Here’s the trouble, though.
Trees that you plant will blossom slow,
Far slower than youth would have them grow.
One of the things I hoped to learn in graduate school (and I think I am and will) is how to think on slower timescales, longer timelines, bigger pictures. Become comfortable soaking in vast oceans of uncertainty without immediately thrashing towards a shore I can’t see. Balancing things with short-term action and exploration enough that I can remain spontaneous in the short term while hewing to a more constant long-term conmpass, instead of ripping down and rebuilding my entire life from scratch over and over; building roots and letting myself set down, commit to something, accept that imperfection will occur regardless of how long I forestall solidity.
I’ve learned that I react better to options than to obligations, but I really do need to invest more in a few options so that they actually happen. Complacency eventually turns into stagnation, and I learn nothing when I’m too afraid to grow.