“Urg, I’m not getting anywhere fast enough!”
Sunshine ruffled the long white curtains at Uncle’s house. Joseph sat at the dining room table with books and papers spread like a buffet, head in hands. He was writing a paper, amongst a hundred other things, but it was the paper in this moment that really drove him up the walls.
“What seems to be the trouble?” Uncle walked from the kitchen with two mugs of tea, setting one down next to his nephew, reserving the other for himself.
“I have a paper to write and it’s not writing, but I also have twenty other things to do, and nothing is getting over with and I feel like I’m losing my mind and─”
“Calm down, calm down,” Uncle petted the air. “Take a break and sip some tea.”
“I don’t have time!” Joseph pulled at his hair. “How can I stop when I feel like I haven’t even started?”
Uncle sipped his tea. “Why do you have so much to do?
“I don’t know,” Joseph said with a sigh. “Maybe because there is so much I want to do?”
“Do you really want to do all these things? They seem to only stress you out.” Joseph seemed at a loss for words, though he claimed, “Yes. I’m sure I want to do all these things. If I wasn’t why would I lose sleep over them?”
“You are equally dedicated to each?” Uncle continued.
“I can’t sit and philosophize with you all day.” Joseph leaned back into his work. “Look, five minutes have passed and I have yet to accomplish a thing.”
“Why do you think the turtle is so slow?” Uncle asked.
“What?” Joseph furrowed his eyebrows in frustration, keeping his eyes on his work.
“Why do you think the turtle is so slow?” Uncle repeated. “He exerts so much time and effort and energy into going… anywhere. Into doing anything. Why does he bother at all if it takes so long?”
Rolling his eyes Joseph cracked a smile. “I don’t know. Tell me quick so I can get back to work.”
“Ey, you should really listen to me! One day you’ll wish you had.” Clearing his throat Uncle continued. “To decide what is actually worth getting to. That is why a turtle moves slowly. It may seem like he’s wasting his time, but really he’s not. You must take up your time, look at it, hold it, feel it beating alive in your palms, to know it’s true worth. Only once you’ve spent enough time with time itself can you know what it’s good for and what to do with it. What direction to aim in and say “Fire away!” To know what is really worth getting to is going to take time. Until then, spend your time will all the things, and don’t worry about the act itself too much.”
“So I should enjoy the process and value my many interests, right?” Joseph summed.
“If you don’t mind being a turtle.” Uncle shrugged. Joseph took up his cup of tea, smelled the beautiful aromas drifting from the liquid, and took a drink.