A couple of days ago, I finally finished Oliver Burkeman 's Four Thousand Weeks having started it back in August.
More like it finished rather than me completing it.
I "read" it through a combination of Kindle and Audible, listening whilst walking Jac or when running on the treadmill. It didn't always sink in. At one stage I backtracked in the Kindle app to make some notes, forgot, then (some time later) continued to listen in Audible only to realise ten minutes in that I'd heard that part before. Heard but not really remembered. So I continued, hoping it would sink in this time.
It's quite ironic that Burkeman writes about the modern frustration of reading a book, that people experience "a revulsion at the fact that the act of reading takes longer than they’d like." I, however, got more from the times when I did read as opposed to those where I listened. Why? Because I could actually take more time over it. It is easier to re-read a paragraph, passage or even a page than to muck about with your phone rewinding in the Audible app, trying to guess at how far back you should go to repeat the part you wanted to hear again.
I will also watch movies in Netflix while running, breaking them down into episodic chunks. There's something refreshing about watching something 20 to 30 minutes at a time. It gives you pause for thought, allows you to consider what's happening more deeply.
The past couple of runs have found me watching In Time, a 2011 offering which I thought looked interesting when suggested by the app. It's a typically dystopian vision of the future where time is the ultimate currency. At one point, the lead character (played by Justin Timberlake) is told "you do everything too fast." The obvious sexual innuendo retort aside, it's a comment that fit perfectly with Burkeman's whole point: we race through life doing everything too fast, trying to organise our way to perfection to get everything done. But we can't, it's impossible — we're just too afraid to admit it.
We have time for what we have time for. Not a second more, not a second less. It reminds me of a scene in The Sandman graphic novel by Neil Gaiman: Death goes to collect a child who complains that his time was too short. Death replies: "You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less."
We can't do it all so we should enjoy what we have, savour it. Only then will it be truly time we'll spent.