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In the pause: Write and live like you’re running out of time—another lesson from Hamilton

“Why do you write like you’re running out of time?” ~Aaron Burr, “Non-Stop” from the musical Hamilton

Sometimes the best thing you can do with your neuroses is accept them and work within them. I think that might be the secret to life.

Hamilton has a way of teaching us so many lessons, about history, economics, and life. There are many ways to describe Alexander Hamilton and I think there is one that stands above all others—non-stop. Something in him knew his life would be short; he had seen so much loss at such a young age. He understood how fleeting life can be. He wrote and worked and loved and lived like he was running out of time because he was. We all are.

I’m not suggesting that this is the only way to live. I’m not even suggesting that it’s a good idea to focus so maniacally on what we’ve lost as Hamilton did. I just know that this is how my mind works. I see time ticking by and do what I can to make the most of it because I can’t make it slow down. This is what keeps me moving forward, especially in times of difficulty.

I’ve never been good at waiting and biding my time. No one I know would ever call me patient. I sit for 18 minutes a day meditating, and that’s about what I can handle. I don’t dwell on things I try that don’t work out—and that goes for baking a pie to landing a job and everything in between. I learn from my experiences and try something else. “Netflix and chill” is never going to be a phrase I embrace (and by that I mean the clean version, friends). I wish I could; I just can’t do it and be happy. And I like to be happy so I embrace my work, my friends, and my curiosity. Those are the things that matter to me.

We’ve just got this one life, and no one is ever going to find a way to manufacture more time. Time is the most equitable resource on Earth. We all get the same 24 hours. Let’s use them in ways that mean something to us. Hamilton certainly did.

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