Sarah writes on the complexities of time in the modern world, and how our attitude towards time and busyness is shifting in a post-pandemic world.
"I think we are on the cusp of change. A collective sigh of post pandemic exhaustion is pushing so many of us to the edges of the city to live, and with hybrid working becoming a reality for the first times in generations, this is all possible. I believe we need to continue to sigh. To accept we’ve been exhausted for years. That in order to do more, we need to do less. To live more deliberately. To participate consciously.This is the change I seek."
How many of us subscribe to the story that there isn’t enough time?
There never seems to be enough time, no matter how many sacrifices I make. I have cancelled more dinner dates, yoga classes or early nights, than I care to remember. But regardless, there still isn’t enough time. Is this story true? Is there really not enough time?
We live in a society which is addicted to busy. We even have a hashtag - hustle culture. Some of us wear it like a badge of honour. I myself have for so long subscribed to this notion that there is never enough hours in the day to do the things I need to do. It is so embedded into our culture it’s hard to see where the story ends and our lives begin.
However, If the last two years have taught me anything it’s that time is non linear. It can feel long. You can stretch it. I was reminded of those long school holidays where you ached for something to do, somewhere to go. The potency of boredom. It occurred to me I hadn’t been bored in years. Any space that does present itself, is filled with podcasts, playlists and social media. We are the upskill generation. It was during this pandemic induced boredom- heavily pregnant - unable to day drink, travel, or run, and without the skills (or patience) to bake bread or knit that I was forced to sit in the boredom. And I learnt this is how you stretch time.
I realised I - like many of my peers- felt I needed to earn rest. That every space in my mind needed to be crammed with self care quotes and insightful conversation starters. Even my hobbies were less about relaxing, but more about being productive.
When we are chronically busy, there is no time to absorb our environment, to marvel at the magic of the mundane, or even to engineer serendipity. I wondered how many flowers in bloom in my drive way, how many bird songs outside my bedroom window, how many meaningful connections with friends I had missed from not being present. Unconscious. So absorbed in busy I wasn’t able to absorb the majesty of life.
The capitalist system has been deliberately designed to keep us so busy that we don’t look up long enough to notice that some of the best things in life are free. All they require is our attention. There are ways to spend time meeting ourselves, our friends and our environments more intimately. This probably doesn’t mean we should all quit our jobs and start wearing bamboo shoes (no diss to bamboo shoes). It means we can begin to stretch time by attuning our attention and living more consciously. Being more deliberate with where we attune our attention.
I believe each aspect of our lives could benefit from this attunement. Although on the surface multitasking makes it appear that we can do more, are we truly doing less? Sending a text whilst bathing our babies, do we rob ourselves the joy of being present in the experience, thus are really doing less? experiencing and absorbing less authenticity, joy and purpose?
I think we are on the cusp of change. A collective sigh of post pandemic exhaustion is pushing so many of us to the edges of the city to live, and with hybrid working becoming a reality for the first times in generations, this is all possible. I believe we need to continue to sigh. To accept we’ve been exhausted for years. That in order to do more, we need to do less. To live more deliberately. To participate consciously.
This is the change I seek.
The days of multitasking will be behind us. We will bask in boredom and from that space notice a cloud the shape of a harmonica, from behind it a symphony of bird song. In the playground of our imagination daydreams will become antidotes at dinner. We will live more fulfilled lives, not from entire life upheavals, but from the opportunity to change our relationship with busy. This is how I see the future. Not profoundly different. Just simpler.
Written by Sarah Lindsay