Time is very much on David Pocock's mind.
The useful time he has spent away from Australian rugby. The time — as yet unspecified — until he is fit enough to return to action. And the limited time remaining in his career.
After a year away, Pocock is back from his ARU-sanctioned sabbatical.
In that time he spent time working a farm in his native Zimbabwe and, more recently, playing in Japan.
Now, he says he's "excited to make the most of the time I have left" in the sport.
But he'll have to wait until at least the second month of the Super Rugby season after undergoing surgery to address a meniscus problem in his knee.
Pocock, however, is sure his decision to step out of the bubble entirely, to mentally and physically refresh himself for an assault on the 2019 World Cup, has been of huge benefit to both himself and the Wallabies' cause.
"People are going to say what they want, I can't help that," Pocock says.
"Coming back you just want to get back to your best. [I'll] start running in the next week or two, and go from there.
"The advice was to take the first few weeks easy and then start to push it and see how it responds.
"I don't know [if the break will extend my career]. When the surgeon's telling you arthritis isn't too far away I don't know if it's [ever] extended.
"All you can do is control what you can control."
Despite the false start to his second coming at the Brumbies, Australian rugby fans will nonetheless be heartened to see Pocock appearing alongside Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper once again, albeit at an ARU sponsor's function rather than in fevered combat.
The pair formed a fearsome combination in the Wallaby forwards prior to Pocock's time off and are eager to pick up where they left off, if selected together.
"Everyone knows what David can bring on the field," Hooper says.
"Something that's great for this group off the field is his personality type, his attention to detail. These little things are great for some of the younger players to see, have him mentor and be a really good leader."
Break brings new perspective for Pocock
Leadership is a recurring theme with Pocock, who soaked up different methodologies in the art with the Wild Cats in Japan and, in his typically thoughtful style, took time to consider the bigger picture around sport and competition in the last 12 months.
"I think with time away you get to reflect. I guess it gives you some perspective," Pocock says.
"You realise that it is, at the end of the day, just a game. And in the scheme of life something like Christian Lealiifano [the Brumbies player who is in remission from leukaemia] going through what he's gone through you realise this is a game to be enjoyed.
"On the other side you realise what a privilege it is to do what you do. I went back for the first time during the school term to the primary school I went to in Zimbabwe.
"Just seeing kids light up, and how excited they were that one of their former pupils was playing international rugby. You get to see how powerful sport can be."
Expectations will be heightened when Pocock does, finally, pull on the green and gold jersey again, with fans understandably keen to see the sport's openness to Pocock's recent choices repaid with performances on the pitch.
"We'll manage him as per we look after all the players, there's no special treatment there," Australian coach Michael Cheika says.
"He has very high expectations of himself, he's a high achiever without a doubt. You're not in this game if you're worried about expectations."
After returning to the Brumbies side, Pocock's next challenge will be to convince Cheika that he is worthy of an instant return to national service for three home Tests against a dangerous Ireland this winter.
Beyond that, the long build up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan will gather greater urgency. Something that Pocock is all too aware of.
"[The World Cup] was certainly a driver behind taking a break and trying to get back to my best," Pocock says.
"We'll see if that pays off."