You’ve Got Time

YOU’VE GOT TIME [I-IX]. Series. Watercolor on 7.125×10.25″ paper.  $300 each includes US shipping; $10 off on each additional if they are going to the same place at the same time. Painted at Lake Winnipesaukee in summer 2023.

Buckle up–we’re going on a journey through time and sunset and the human psyche!

This series was born one evening at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire last summer. I was sitting on the steps down by the lake doing what I had looked forward to all day–painting by the water. So much sooner than I was ready, the sun began to set, and I was seized with the familiar symphonic juxtaposition of emotions, thoughts, and sensations that tend to come up in me in these sunset moments: joyful overwhelm at the beauty; awe at the fact of getting to witness it; a desperation to have more time with the light; protestation at how little time of lightness was left; an ache at how quickly the day had flown by; gratitude and delight at the luxury of having a little bit of time at the end of my day to paint in such an inspiring place; awareness of the insane privilege inherent in same; urgency to soak up every second of beauty and opportunity. 

And an existential mandate to make the most of every bit of light before it’s gone. In these moments, I’m flooded with the awareness that I still have a tiny bit more time before darkness falls and all activities of the light are unavailable until tomorrow. 

The sun is still up–it hasn’t set on the day yet. There’s still a little bit of time left!! 

But also: there’s just a little bit of time left!!! Just a little tiny bit of time left to do ALL THE THINGS I was going to do today!!  It’s a little panic born of the creative force and human animal inside me. I have so much I want and need to do. (That to-do list includes sitting on steps by the water and gazing and pondering. As far as I’m concerned, that’s an activity there’s never enough time for. I will sit there into the dark…) And if it’s my last day in a place…well. There are so many times I’ve faced the reality of a setting sun and falling darkness on my nomadic adventure, as I drive through a beautiful landscape and know that soon it will be dark, and I won’t be able to see it anymore. I’ve laughed at myself as I’ve silently pleaded with the sun: please, just a little bit longer. Please, don’t set yet. I want more time.

Do you feel that urgency–the intensity of holding all that burning energy towards all of your possible projects and goals, all of your responsibilities, all of the ideas you could realize? All that could be experienced or explored or accomplished in your time on this planet? I think most of us do, whether that energy is woken up or tamped down inside us; whether we feel free to do what we want to with our time or are hindered by demands on it or other barriers (there is of course massive inequity in this). We hold that awareness inside of a truth that in any moment of time, we can only be doing one thing–in a sense. And yet, a single moment in time can hold so many things simultaneously. One moment can hold all this.

The literal setting of the sun evokes a broader urgency, and wakes up the totality of my relationship with time. Of COURSE it’s a metaphor. In the end, it points directly to the very fact of mortality and impermanence. These days, I’m feeling so inspired to create and nurture so many projects for work, while also feeling the urgency of spending time with my family and friends, making time for dating and inviting partnership into my life, and being present in and available to the gifts of whatever my current nomad home is (today, San Francisco). Making time to write and share as I’m doing right now. The time I give to one thing can seem to take from something else important. At times, I catch myself falling into breathless urgency of desire to pour my energy and time into all that matters. I drop down into the moment, and tell myself: You’ve Got Time.

You’ve Got Time is one one hand a reassurance–a soothing–a “there there” to the panicked part of us. The urgency feels so real. And in a sense, it is: this is the reality of being a person. We only have so much time, and none of us knows how much. It will never be enough, so we have to make it enough. All we can ever do is be here, now, and act on the moment as it acts on us. Magic can be made in even the tiniest pockets of time! 

Inside of this refrain is also a reckoning, a reminder: You’ve got time! That is such a gift! Seize it–the time is now! Don’t wait to be alive, to do what matters to you, if you are privileged enough to have the basic conditions in place to do it! Make your ideas happen!  

We can get pelted with so many exclamation-pointed thoughts: You have this thing–life, time! Don’t take it for granted! Be grateful! Make the most of it! Slow down! Be present! Hurry up! You’re behind! You’re right on track! Are you on track? You’re running out of time! Are you doing what you could be doing or should be doing with your time?! Time is going so fast! Too fast! Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!! Damn that sunset is beautiful!! ???

You could choose to interpret these paintings as sunrises or sunsets. The sunrise promises an expansive whole day ahead of us. The sunset washes over us with near-impossible beauty, and reminds us that the day is nearing an end. Both can slow time down, making us fully present. Both nudge us to take stock, to not forget that time is fleeting, and also expansive. They remind us that we are tiny, and though we may be subjected to limits, we are limitless. We are uniquely ourselves, in this place, in this moment, in this body, in this life, and we are connected to everyone. We are here, and we are now.

In my work as The Thirtysomething Coach, having specialized in helping people through Thirtysomething Panic for over a decade, I’ve also spent a lot of time professionally thinking about time, and our perception of it in relationship to what we want to do and experience in our precious and our simultaneously long and so very short lives. I’ve helped a lot of people reckon with, soothe, and release the panic and drop into a strong place of creating what they want and experiencing life in the present moment.  In parallel, I’ve done the same reckoning within myself, again and again.

In my get-it-done group, The Life Workshop, I facilitate a space for people to make time for what matters most. We all recognize together the preciousness of that time, and the magic of making a conscious choice of what to do with the time we have. We ground in the energy of doing what we can, now, riding urgency into action, and letting it be enough. In each session, each person is infusing time with intention–choosing to give this pocket of time to something that matters, and accepting that all we can do is a little bit at a time. In every session we show up for, we are valuing, honoring, and using the time we have.

As I move deeper into middle age, I feel my self falling into a sort of center with time. The past, the future, and the present all hold powerful and fascinating weight. In any given week, I move in and out of these three time zones time after time–always coming back to present, and the present always sparking little internal journeys to the past and the future. And yet–of course–life is here, in this present moment. Painting–creating anything–is something that can only happen NOW–in this time. These paintings contain so much of what I have been thinking and feeling about time that the series has felt nearly too big to write about, to harness in words. The series might have been posted some time ago if I’d not needed to find the capacity–the TIME–to articulate everything it contains. 

When I Iook at any painting in the YOU’VE GOT TIME series, I feel a calm wash over me, and at the same time, I feel the evoked awareness of all that I’ve written here, and of the preciousness of time, of being alive, in a human body. Paired or grouped with others in the series, the effect is even stronger.

These paintings are misleadingly simple; the process was more meticulous than you may be able to discern in looking at them. They asked for quite a bit of my time, and I gave it to them, grateful I had it to give. Night after night, I painted this series as the sun went down, a ritual of reverie, meditation, urgency, acceptance, contemplation, awe, gratitude, optimism, excitement, and just very minor, very occasional freaking out. And awareness that of all the things I could have been doing, painting these was how I was choosing to use all this time. When it became too dark to see, I moved up into the house and kept painting under the lamp. These paintings hold those nights inside of them.

I’ll be posting these paintings for sale one by one in the coming days over on Instagram, but if there’s one you want to snag before you see it individually posted, message me! If you want to purchase one or more of these pieces, email me with the number and I will send you the instructions for payment. Shipping to the United States is included in the price you see. Add $10 USD for international shipping. Unframed and as you see it. 

I hope to make prints of these, so if an original isn’t in your budget, message me to let me know you want me to keep you posted on that.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.