Something was unfolding in the pub, an odd little interaction between people that I was very keen to witness. I knew that I could learn something valuable if I paid attention.
But I was sitting next to a new friend, and he wanted to chat. As he tried to engage me, my focus wavered.
I’ve always wanted to be available to everyone. I’ve wanted to give what people need.
Over the years I’ve learned more about what I can and can’t give; I’ve become better at setting boundaries.
Time is my latest frontier.
Time, which seems free but is in fact my most valuable (and finite) resource.
I’ve been learning to say NOT NOW.
Really, I’ve always known when the time is not right. But I’ve stretched and pulled and twisted and twitched trying to squeeze things in anyway.
My new friend in the pub asked me a question. My focus wavered for a moment, and then I recalled my newest lesson.
“Martin, I’m really enjoying our conversation but I also really want to watch what’s happening here. Let’s keep chatting when it’s done.”
Martin didn’t mind. We watched the rest of the interaction unfold together.
It was such a small thing to say.
It was such a big thing to be able to say it.