Tynan’s article on Investment (written some time ago, and pertaining to time, not money) is something that I continue to pore over and try to apply to various aspects of my life. The way that time spent is broken down versus time invested is straightforward but powerful; and it can be applied to anything in life. On a seemingly unrelated tangent, before I left Colorado to return to Central America, one of my closest friends and most-trusted recommender-of-reads, Philip, gave me a book titled This is Water [a Talk Delivered on a Significant Occasion About Living a Compassionate Life] by David Foster Wallace.
The book centers on a forum that occurred, the only of its kind that DFW would give during his life, at Forrest College. DFW makes it clear his intentions not to pander to the audience of intelligent and capable liberal arts youth, and instead focuses on delivering what is sort of a parable, an Aesopian fable for the group instead. This book is nothing like the impenetrable and challenging Infinite Jest but much more easily digested (although arguably wildly difficult in daily practice).
The piece to me that connected the two very different yet very similar reads was the mention of investment and active presence. TiW and Tynan’s article both touch on a very important subject: choosing wisely how you manage your time and energy. The older I get, I find myself building fewer strong bonds and more weak bonds with the people in my life around me. It has been a challenge in my life not to spread myself too thin amongst too many people, particularly in places where you see no reciprocation.
I have seen many friendships ebb and flow over the course of the last several years, like anyone will in life, but I count myself lucky that I have so many supportive and loving people year in and year out. At times, I find myself questioning are you a good friend? The answer is yes sometimes. Sometimes it is no. Most of the time it is most of the time. But invariably, I could always be more present. Much of what we get in life is determined by our relationships and out investments in them. It was refreshing to have read and to have been reminded of this.
Choosing where you put your energy can be confusing much of the time. In the case of This is Water; choose what you worship. Everyone worships something: drugs, glamour, food, your health, your God, your paycheck, your independence: whatever it is you are devoted to. Both of these quick pieces were a refreshing reminder about where I expend my energy. Not always do I have or take the time to really consider what is important on a daily basis, and what is truly valuable to me, and push forward into whatever that may be. For such a brief read TiW sends a truly important message. Buy a copy for your friend, and don’t forget to write a note in the front sleeve telling them how much they mean to you.
Photo taken in the San Blas Islands, Panama, CA.