If that sounds like an odd question, that’s because it is. Or it isn’t.

Looking out of the hotel window in Berlin back in August I caught sight of a building with black letters on a white background. Despite the lack of a question mark, the question it posed has bugged me for the last five weeks. Here it is:

This week, ‘now’ is not long enough. Too many demands, too much preparation to do, too many decisions to make and too much to think about. I just wish ‘now’ could be longer.

But, I have also met an elderly couple today who have been giving their savings away in order to help the next generation. No sentimentality here. No easy life that has led to the freedom of costless generosity. This couple have known tragedies and loss, dislocation and regret. Yet, they told me that it is more important to live and give now than to keep saving it all up – for what? For a future that might not be there? For plans that will not be fulfilled? For an old age they are already in?

There is something to be said for living in the ‘now’ and not thinking you can take it all with you when you go. And there is something to be said for giving in the ‘now’ – not for any reward or benefit, but for the mere grace of being generous to those whose ‘now’ is proving tough.

How long is now? Answers on a postcard.