I didn’t really know what I was going to write about this morning when I woke up. Some Mondays, I have something sort of ready — something starts to bubble up on Saturday or Sunday. But not this week. I knew my heart felt heavy, but I didn’t know where that weight would necesarily go.
I subscribe to the Words of Women newsletter. I recommend it. It too comes on Mondays, and today’s letter helped me figure out part of what has been hanging over me — the notion of time, exchanges of energy, what we do and do not allow to be done with our energy and attention, and the price tags that go on those things, figurative or real.
We just lost Aretha Franklin. When I was thinking about currency today, I began to imagine what a random promoter in a random city might’ve thought of when considering making a performance offer for The Queen of Soul. How does one put a monetary value on that? I have no idea what sort of guarantees Ms. Franklin received, but I know they could not have been close to high to enough. You can’t put dollar signs on the kind of talent she had or the kind of giving of it that she did.
Nor can you pin an appropriate number on the value of any interaction, when there is wholehearted give and take. I’ve paid as little as a few dollars or maybe no dollars at all to witness performances that stopped time for me, performances that I’ll remember and continue to be touched by forever. I’ve had honest conversations that changed my life. I’ve read books that altered my way of thinking forever. I’ve had lessons poured into me by those who are, or were at the time, smarter and more experienced than I am and I became better because of them. I’ve spent precious minutes with my son that expanded me in every direction.
Our energy, our attention, and ultimately our time are our most precious resources, not only because they require the most of us in order to give them fully, but because they are the things of which we have the least. We never know when we will have no more of ourselves to give in an earthly way. We never know when others’ time will be up, either. As mine dwindles, I realize this more and more — there are no more days to be offered up to anything that isn’t worthy. And the things that are, deserve nothing less than my all. I consider this in reverse as well — I don’t want to take up anyone else’s time unless I have a way to earn it.
The great news about getting older is that the vision is honed, the edit is edited, the focus narrows, and the magpie tendencies fall away. A svelte life becomes a requirement, because who can say how much every tick of the clock is worth? As an old friend once told me, life is minutes, and every one of them is priceless.
Happy Monday, Y’all.