“Time eludes measurement. What is a year? And ten years are nothing. To be an artist means not to count or reckon but to ripen like the tree that does not force its sap and, trustingly, stands through the storms of spring without fear that summer will not come. It will come. But it comes only to the patient ones, who stand there with eternity stretching around them, quiet, vast, and free of worry. I learn this every day, learn it amid struggle, for which I am thankful. Patience is all!”Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet, April 23, 1903)
“...ripen like a tree…”
With our measurements of time also comes our expectations of that time. By 18 years we are an adult. 10 years into adulthood we should have done this and this and that. By 70 years we should have lived a full life and no regret.
But, Rilke argues against our sense and structure of time, telling us again and again in his letters to simply let everything happen to us, and be patient as we become.