I think it’s happening. My relationship with time is changing, which if you’ve been reading this blog since the winter solstice, you may remember was my wish for the new season of increasing light.
For the last decade at least, my relationship with time has not been friendly. Time would move too fast, which seemed deliberate to me, as if the actual number of minutes and hours in a day was accelerated just so I couldn’t possibly get as much done as I needed. And not that I didn’t get a lot done, because I did. But mostly I did what I had to do, not what I wanted to do, though it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be doing what I was doing, just that there was so much else I wanted to do. What I wanted to do beyond what I had to do — write poetry and stories, read novels and memoirs and at least get a peek or two into the New Yorkers that poured into my house and mostly went unopened on the coffee table for a month or so before proceeding to the recycling pile, walk, sleep, spend unhurried time with family and friends — got squeezed in around the edges. And very tight edges, measured in minutes if not seconds.
I can remember countless days, driving in to work, when I would say to myself, “I’ll go for a walk at lunchtime and pick up a few groceries at the Coop.” The next time I’d notice a clock, it would be after 6:00, dark and cold, the day’s sunshine long gone, and I’d be starving and want to go home but would be facing an inbox full of unread messages. Then a race would start, a race between me and the clock and email, seeing how much of the mass I could get through before I would give up, go home, eat a quick meal, crawl into bed and not sleep enough, and then start over again.
No wonder I sleep almost 10 hours almost every night. I’m still exhausted. But I can feel the pace changing if only in the fact that I have time to sleep that much. I’m writing, a lot, even finished a novel and now I’m editing the memoir I finished 3 years ago and haven’t touched since. My next book of poetry is taking shape in my head and in a file in my computer, and soon I’m going to be holding my first full length book of poetry in my hands. I’m reading whole issues of the New Yorker and book after book after book. I’m going for walks and seeing more of my family and friends than I have in years.
Now when I look up and am surprised at how much time has gone by, I don’t mind, because I’m not always working on something that has to be done right now! Or ten minutes ago! That horrible urgency that was like a cinder block in my chest has lifted, and I can let minute after minute after minute go by and it’s okay if I don’t get something done. I can breathe.