Travel | Philosophy

Reallocated Time, With Purple Blossoms

If time is precious, how would you react when you take a left turn instead of a right and see your estimated time of arrival immediately jump up 30 minutes? That happened when I turned onto a stretch of Route 76 near Philadelphia with heavy traffic in both directions and nowhere to turn around for miles. Under the circumstances, you could either curse at yourself for making a split-second error in judgement or turn up the music and accept the gift that the universe presented to you.

The deeper you dive into philosophy, the more minutes you dole out in exchange for experience, the more you see how much doesn’t matter that once seemed so important. We are all marching down the same path, the same path every other human in existence has marched down. We all make a wrong turn now and then.

The thing is, if we live to be 80 or we live to be 100, that’s between 42 and 52 million minutes. How we use those minutes is the difference between an enjoyable life and a life less enjoyable. 52 million minutes seems like a lot until you realize how many you’ve burned through already on your march down the path. Is 30 minutes out of 52 million a big deal?

A wrong turn can be viewed as either wasted or reallocated time. The only time that’s wasted is the time we give away to distraction. Confusion may have pulled me onto the wrong road, but making it a distraction would have wasted the opportunity to turn those minutes from their expected use into something less ordinary.

I turned up the music and enjoyed the abundant purple blossoms of the (invasive) Paulownia Trees as I crawled down the highway. It was a view I’d never have seen had I taken the “right” turn. It was the universe offering me a bouquet of flowers and some time to reset my expectations for the day. Maybe it wasn’t a wrong turn after all?

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