It’s 3:02PM and we have eight minutes to make the 3:10PM train to Chicago. We knew it would be tight — we were planning to take the 5:55PM — but we’re headed home and we want to get there so we’re hustling and fretting and trying to make this work. We could be home for dinner if we get lucky. No time to waste.
Four days earlier we were leaving Burlington, VT heading south towards Middlebury. There was a turn-off to the right, our last chance of a last vista of Lake Champlain. We took it, rushed to the overlook, and were disappointed — the view wasn’t great. We started to head back to the highway. There was another turn-off. A dead-end that looked like it turned into a dirt road and a possible view. We turned, hesitated, reality struck. We had to keep moving. We had a schedule — we needed to get to Boston before 5:00PM. We’d already abandoned our plans to stop at Three Stones Restaurant for lunch, take a hike in the Green Mountains, stop for a snack in Johnson (outside of Stowe), head through Montpelier’s downtown … we were a few days into our week-long trip and we’d already abandoned more plans than we completed.
A few days after arriving in Boston, we had a day to ourselves. We’d planned to go to Beacon Hill, stroll the North End, eat, photograph, absorb as much as we could. Reality struck again. We had already hit Beacon Hill, the Common, and we were just entering the North End. We found an old cemetary to explore, then got a good lunch tip from a friend, and we still needed to pick up some half-moon cookies — we only had another hour. We’d run out of time and would have to return.
Sure, we’ll never have enough time to do everything we want to do, but we still need to give it a shot. And we’re never going to have enough time until we abandon our schedule. We’re in the career system. We have career-controlled schedules and time. We have vacation days and sick time and national holidays. We need vacation months and rain delays and national adventures.