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  • sarastgeorge7

The future lies in uncertainty.

Updated: Apr 12, 2023

“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it” - Seneca

How would you spend a week if you knew it was your last? In 2021, I read a book called “Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals’ It's based on the premise that you should stop trying to do everything and focus on what matters.

Assuming you live to be eighty, you’ll have had about four thousand weeks. Certainly, you might get lucky: make it to ninety, and you’ll have had almost 4,700 weeks" - Oliver Burkeman, "Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals."

At the time, I read it, looking for answers. How do I manage a life full of commitments and deadlines? Can I create space to squeeze in some more?

I had missed the point.

Work was becoming the dominating factor in my day, life, and mind, with every task becoming more important and urgent than the last. If I stopped doing something, would anyone notice? But how could I? Everything seemed to be the most important action to complete right now.

I have worked and studied full-time since the age of 16, and it was time to take a fresh look at life and the world. I declared the ensuing 12 months my ‘fickle finger of fate’ year, vowing to go with the flow, grabbing opportunities when I could without thinking too much about what might happen next. But reading about something and acting on it is not necessarily the same. Rational thought prevailed, and I slipped back into the groove.

One idea I had started to explore when bolstered with enthusiasm for my ‘fateful’ year was a sabbatical. I had put in a request in March and had no idea if it would be accepted. I was delighted when six months later, I was given the green light. But now what? Reality started to set in, and the thought, quite frankly, was terrifying. For a long time, I had held onto the dream that I would like to spend an extended break in Paris. Now I had that time. Could I really make it happen?

Friends started to make references to Emily in Paris. But the cliche-riddled yet weirdly compelling show was not the driver for my imagined adventure. I had been visiting Paris since I was 18 and had been lucky enough to spend a few weeks at L’Espece Cardin working on a UK theatre production about Marlene Dietrich many years ago.

So, I did it. I booked un appartement and a Eurostar ticket, then sat down to wonder what on earth I was doing. Friends may reflect that I took it all in my stride, but inside, my sensible self was screaming at me to stop.

Then in Dec 2022, I started to feel unwell. Very quickly, this escalated and on 28 December, my appendix burst, and I had emergency surgery the following day. On 1 Jan 2023, I returned home, bloated and bruised, yet grateful to be on the mend.

Ready to start the New Year with a positive outlook, the concept of 4000 weeks suddenly hit home.

So, I have 1,230 weeks to go. That is 8,610 days, 206,640 hours. I’m not counting the time, though. I’m making the most of it and focussing on what matters. For now, eight weeks in Paris calls.

I will forever be grateful to my employers for granting me this opportunity.

And so, it begins…

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