Squeezing Thousands of Years Into a Minute

I’m reading a book about the history of food and modern farming. I find it incredible that, even though we’ve been farming since 8500 BCE, it’s still a blip in the history of humanity and digestion. Our bodies still haven’t adapted to a sedentary, grain-based diet. (See: An Edible History of Humanity by Tom Standage, pg 4.)

kees-streefkerk-352874-unsplash
Photo by Kees Streefkerk on Unsplash

If 150,000 years can be compared to a minute and a half, I need to rethink my view of adaptation. I ask the girls to adapt all day long – from an unplanned errand to a switch in who picks up Bea from school, teaching flexibility is a surprisingly big part of the parenting process.

Or maybe it’s part of the human process. I like a predictable schedule and often wish I could adapt to surprises and changes with more grace and ease. The reality is that I need time to process new ideas and perspectives. I often read the news or a book and then need to dig deeper, figuring out this (new to me) information.

I’ll emerge and want to talk about it with Frank, only to realize that I’m unloading a bunch of internal processing in the course of a conversation. Essentially, I’m asking him to squeeze hundreds of thousands of years into a couple minutes.

Ok, my analogies are mixing but what I’m remembering is that adaptation takes time. Yes, in the course of human history, 150,000 is a blip. We haven’t been farming all that long so of course our digestive systems haven’t had time to adjust. And yet, we’ve been farming long enough that none of us have any ties at all to our hunter-gatherer ancestors. We wouldn’t know how to survive, even though it’s the foundational norm.

I’m giving myself grace as I deconstruct and rebuild foundational norms, whatever they may be. When I get discouraged at the slow pace of society in general, I’m remembering that these long years are a blip in history. I need to stretch back and remember that life is a slow process and adaptation is often imperceptible.

Are you able to adapt quickly or do you need time to process? How do you ground yourself in history?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “adapt.”

Books Referenced:

51INTf4BPsL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 

14 thoughts on “Squeezing Thousands of Years Into a Minute

  1. Good morning! Im here from the Five Minute Friday linkup. Like you, I appreciate predictability and adapting to change doesn’t always come easy. I like your intention to give yourself grace as you wade through seasons of change. We all process differently, according to how we were created to be, and I think that’s okay. There are gifts that come from a slower, more deliberate rumination, just as there are in a quick acceptance and moving forward. Have a wonderful day!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Linda! I’m learning to embrace that balance – of going with the flow and letting things settle. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Interesting reflections! I think with change it often depends on whose idea it is. If I want the change, I want to see it happen quickly, but if others propose the change it can take me longer to adapt. I think that’s important to remember when trying to implement change or work with others going through change.

    1. Ha! That is so true! When it’s my idea, I need it to happen today. It takes time when others suggest it… 😉 Or when life just happens and I need to adapt – not as fun.

  3. Definitely part of the human process I think. Our program director encourages everyone to expect 3 curveballs a day. At least 3. This implies our need to quickly adapt. Which is better than merely reacting which is often my default.

  4. I love this! Thank you for the important reminder that adaptation takes TIME! I often get frustrated with myself (and others) for not getting into a new groove quickly enough. You offered some very important perspective here.

    1. I want so much time for myself but get annoyed when the girls or others don’t get on my schedule quickly. Ah, extending grace… That’s an adaptation, too!

  5. I think I will be able to give myself some more grace from now on in my adaptation process after reading your post. To recognize this can be a gift! Thanks. Your FMF neighbor #30

  6. As a farmer’s daughter, niece, grabddaughter, I have an appreciation for farming especially family farms. Now corporate farms on the other hand are a completely different story. Great post friend. I’m in the 52 spot this week.

    1. Oh, I think you’d like this book – and read it through a closer lens! I agree, though. I think when there are commentaries on modern farming, there is a vast separation between family farms and factory farms. (I suppose this is true with most family businesses and corporations…)

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