Grad school is an elongated state of triage... In chatting with a friend on my way from one study session to another I mentioned time, and currency, and trade offs. She accused me of becoming an economist (a topic we've covered often in our Marine Resource Management class these days- assigning 'value' to things which are intrinsically, though not monetarily 'valuable'. The whole thing makes me want to vomit. The degree with which I hate a cash based economy is almost enough to forgo this computer, this internet, and this school, and go live in the woods somewhere forever- I digress). After the good natured accusation I wondered (on my bike traveling from point A to point B) whether or not she was right? Had I abandoned the integrated life that I strove so hard to embody in exchange for this segmented, over-crowded head space, where I strove for this idea of school? Why does my coursework affect me so? When will I have not just the time, but the energy, to relax.
I coined a phrase, or I guess an idea (albeit a sad one): I said out loud to myself.
"The currency of grad school is time. And we are and will forever be poor of it."
Time cannot be hoarded (to my dear dragon's disappointment). So if we think of time as a thing to have, to borrow or to spend (as here in school I'm so want to do) we feel forever poor, empty, and clinging to this idea... this currency which is time.
I dole out my time in a miserly fashion. I give it to John when I can. To Vista as much as I dare. If it is evening and I think my productivity would be otherwise bereft, I allocate a moment to my friends.
Mostly I give my time to my assignments. To this strange idea of excellence. As if by making through all this within this arbitrary structure that says something about me.
I don't know what my B+ in Fluid Earth says about me... but I bet it isn't as much as any poem I've written, or any conversation with Sebastian that I ever imagined, or any story I ever told anyone (especially if it were about the ocean). But I strive for these classes, I pay for them.
Perhaps it is the promise that these ideas will make it into a story one day... that in casual conversation adiabatic lapse rate will become the pathway for a disgruntled parcel of air to rise and then settle... and that parcel of air will have a story... Perhaps understanding (at least basically) why we have lenticular clouds over Denali will make them more beautiful.
If the currency of life is time, we are poor in today, but rich in tomorrow. An unhappy present that I have faith is impermanent.