I was having breakfast this past weekend and something occurred to me.
I looked at my sausage, egg, and cheese croissant sandwich, I’d already eaten half. It was still hot. I only eat bread on weekends, so I savor the experience more deeply. It took me several minutes to eat the first half.
Several minutes later, the entire sandwich was gone. Several MINUTES.
I thought to myself, I wonder how long it takes to make a croissant? Perhaps an hour or two between preparation and baking.
How long was that cheese aged for? Cheddar cheese is aged for between 3 months and 12 years.
The eggs were so light and fluffy; I wonder how many years the person who made those eggs has been cooking? Some people learn to cook easily, but let’s say at least 3 years.
How far did the eggs travel to get here? Are the eggs from a local farm, or somewhere in the middle of the country?
It is possible that my breakfast sandwich, all totaled, took 3 years or more and a few hundred miles to be created.
But we often don’t think like that. We consume reality in real time. How often do we stop and consider the sum of its parts at any given moment?
We buy things and take possession immediately, we hear ideas right now, we see the final results of a project, we watch the athlete make a split second decision. All of those things happen and we make an assessment in an instant. Rarely do we stop to think that all of these outcomes are the result of an extraordinary amount of time.
I think we would appreciate everything more, if we were to be able to know the story of how it came to be in that moment.
Almost everything we see, buy, sell, and consume has taken far more time, involved more people, and travelled greater distances than we typically stop to think about.