Life is a journey, so slow down

Little Prince book cover image

This classic novella was first published in 1943.

It’s about time.

It seems to me that I am often running out — running out of time, running out the door and running out room on my bookshelves! The other day I decided to donate some old books to make room for the new ones.

Cleaning out books isn’t like cleaning out the refrigerator. It’s more like cleaning out the wine cellar. Some bottles are past their prime, some you wonder why you bought in the first place and some forgotten treasures are surprisingly relevant and satisfying.

I was contemplating discarding an old copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry when I cracked it open and read this passage:

“GOOD MORNING,” said the little prince.

“Good Morning,” said the salesclerk. This was a salesclerk who sold pills invented to quench thirst. Swallow one a week and you no longer feel any need to drink.

“Why do you sell these pills?”

“They save so much time,” the salesclerk said. “Experts have calculated that you can save fifty-three minutes a week.”

“And what do you do with those fifty-three minutes?”

“Whatever you like.”

“If I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked,” the little prince said to himself, “I’d walk very slowly toward a water fountain…”

Life is journey … so I guess death is the destination. Once you accept that there is no need to accelerate towards the finish line.

Saint-Exupéry’s father died of a stroke at the train station when Saint-Exupéry was three. His brother died at age 15. Saint-Exupéry himself risked his life as a pioneering aviator over the Sahara desert and Andes mountains. During WWII, Saint-Exupéry disappeared over the Mediterranean on a reconnaissance mission. He was 44 years old.

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