When I lived in Cape Town I learned that two insulting things to call people were “hectic” and “busy.” Having too much going on was negative. Being unable to unwind or just exist in the moment was pitiable.
But in the nine years I’ve been back in the US, I’ve become the hectic one.
I’ve been trying to think about time in a way that doesn’t send me into a crisis about doing more, accomplishing more.
I have been listening to a 52-hour audiobook since early October. I am 35 hours in. Weeks and weeks of driving, stripping furniture, cleaning, bathtub soaks, and staring out a window at the rain to this intricate story and all its exacting detail.
The fact that I’m not finished makes me anxious.
I’ve been working with two yards of vintage denim fabric for a little more than two years.
What it will turn into is slowly revealing itself. Because I’ve moved around so much this project was packed away for 13 months, but now I am living somewhere I want to stay for a long, long while. I unpacked it yesterday.
And the fact that I haven’t finished this art project, this tapestry(?), tends to make me anxious.
But my relationship to time has changed during the pandemic.
What if my understanding of time wasn’t about optimizing or efficiency?
I find myself fighting off embarrassment when things take a long time. But where is the pride in completing or making something that was quick and easy?
Maybe pride comes from slowness, and attention, and care.
Investing time imbues value–or forget value, instills beauty.
What if very long projects are the most worthwhile, though they don’t show off their worthiness in any immediate way?
And perhaps the point of this very long art project is that is made me slow down and pay attention.