“Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy”
-Feeling Groovy (59th St. Bridge Song)
If you have noticed things here have been a little bit slow here I will assure you that this dilatory state has been of my own design. Therefore, please excuse me if I forgo the traditional (and slightly narcissistic) round of apologies expected of bloggers when they fail to post as frequently as they once did. I embrace my digital holidays.
This purposeful (albeit only temporary) deceleration was a coping mechanism for my burgeoning awareness that too much of my life lately has been sped up and/or put on a deadline of some kind. Everything these days, whether it is a task or a text message, has a due date or requires my immediate attention. Technology has made the various demands of modern living not more intense and more vocal. We are now available to everyone else around the globe 24 hours a day and they want an answer right way.
When was it decreed that every text message, email, or voice message had to be returned immediately? Just because the phone rings does not obligate you to answer it.
“I just sent you a text. Didn’t you get my voice mail? Are you there? I know you are there.”
I count on some downtime for the requisite reflections my brand of blog posts require and it just hasn’t been there. And when it was there I apparently forgot how to use it. My free hour was consumed with guilt and anxiety of all that I wasn’t doing during it. Distractions and guilt were so intense I couldn’t focus long enough to write anything coherent!
“Did you see what I posted on my Facebook? I tagged you and you didn’t respond!”
I’ve still been cooking. Just not posting. The only reason I had time and focus to cook is because my stomach is on a deadline. Things with deadlines always get top priority. But the ramblings and random stories I like to attach to the pretty pictures just couldn’t reveal themselves to me with all the noise.
Yup, there is nothing like a deadline to keep your mind focused on output but since blogging doesn’t really have one its priority sank lower and lower. This meant that ‘my next post’ just never got written. When your inner world is so crowded with external distractions that you can’t formulate new thoughts or sentences its time to take a time-out. And so I did. And it felt good.
The only way I was going to be ok with a blog time-out was if I could also take some urgency out of some other “hurry up” and “rush” type demands that surrounded me. (Within reason of course. I still have to earn a paycheck!) How many of these things really weren’t so urgent after all? Was it society or was it really me who had anointed “speed” and “productivity” a superior value for modern life?
I am here to reassert “slow” and “procrastination” as just as good a value as well. Evidently this too is not a unique thought as an entire movement has grown up around it in various regards.
Picking up the laundry can always wait until tomorrow. Did I forget to check my email all weekend long? Ooopsie. Yes, I know you sent me a text message but I was enjoying my time with someone else and couldn’t answer it. You don’t get to interrupt that. Oh, and I turned my phone off. Its been so long since I’ve done that I had forgotten that this is actually allowed. I read a book.
Those decisions that you think need to be made right now will often take care of themselves if you wait long enough. Delays and procrastination might be causing you anxiety and guilt but if properly utilized they can be considered a skill or a sign of strength if you think about it. How many times has your second idea or inspiration been far superior than your first? How many times has someone else’s idea that came after yours been far better?
“Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?”
Maybe its because you didn’t take the time to even consider it? Inspiration and good ideas can’t be rushed. I recently read that when Hemingway was asked by a fan how to best write a novel he replied, “you begin by cleaning the refrigerator.” Consider that!
I understand that all that I’m trying to say here is not all completely on point. Or is it? During the time I turned on my computer and sat down to write this post I checked my email 10 times. I received 3 texts from friends, all of which required an immediate responce before I could resume. I then remembered an important task that I forgot to complete at work. One that could have just as easily waited until Monday but I decided I needed to complete it now so that it wouldn’t be waiting for me next week when I returned. Then I thought of something fun to tweet which I didn’t want to forget so I tweeted. Yes, I tweeted.
None of this needed immediacy but my brain felt compelled anyway so I’m going to have to work on this. From time to time I’m going to take the occasion to purposefully slow down and embrace delay as a value. I will be setting setting electronic boundaries and I hope hope that I will have more creativity and quality output as a result.
I’m going to turn my phone off now. I might clean the refrigerator.
So what does any of this have to do with today’s Sis Booze contribution? Not much. But if you are going to take a time-out, electronic or otherwise, and relax on one of these hot summer days I would suggest enjoying a Panachè while you do it.
In Italy (where I will be going soon so perhaps that is why it has been on my mind) and France it is called “Panachè” (which means “mixed”) but in the UK and elsewhere (including some parts of the US) it is often referred to as a “Shandy”. In Spain I have heard it referred to as a “Clara con limn” or a “Pica”. They are all good.
I’m sure the beer purists among you will recoil in horror at the thought of mixing anything with beer but you should just get over it. Beer and lemonade may not be so popular in this part of the world but just about everywhere else has some variation going on for just the reason I am enjoying one right now. It is refreshing and delicious. Also, its low alcohol content can make it somewhat practical too!
“Creativity is the residue of wasted time” -Albert Einstein