I’ve been in a reflective mood recently, and have spent a lot of time drafting blog posts trying to put that feeling into words. As I was taking a walk around Bristol Harbour this morning, I realised that my feelings about time itself were one of the things I was most reflecting on. The long and short of it has been that the space between my daily milestones – the alarm going off, breakfast, the lunch break, dinner time, back to bed again – has come to mean a different thing to me in a relatively short space of…well, time.
Time is the wisest counsellor of all
Throughout my life I’ve had moments, sometimes daily and other times spaced months apart, where I’ve sat back with a bit of a start as I’ve realised that the moment I’m experiencing is utterly unique and will never again exist. I can remember sitting back on countless occasions and thinking to myself ‘remember this moment’. Of course, I don’t remember the moment itself – where I was, what I was doing, who I was with – but instead the actual act of sitting back and thinking to myself “remember this moment, you’ll never have it again”.
This had become a source of anxiety for me; if I wasn’t using and remembering my moments to 100% of the best of my ability, did I deserve the time I was wasting? I expressed that thought to one of my therapists once, and her response has stuck with me to this day. (I’ve since discovered it wasn’t one of her original thoughts, but I’ll let her take credit for introducing it to me.) The original quote is:
Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
– Marthe Troly-Curtin, Phrynette Married
It was one of the only useful things a therapist ever said to me. The way I experience the thought of ‘wasting time’ has since been subtly changing. Taking craft as an example, I used to be a goal oriented knitter, with the finish object being king and the time spent knitting it ‘wasted’ as I was so keen to reach my destination. Cranking out object after object, often with imperfections that I knew about but ‘didn’t have the time’ to go back and fix, I was perfectly happy with that style of creating.
More recently, I’ve started to enjoy that ‘wasted time’ more. The Pixie Slipper Boots that I recently completed felt almost unreal because they were so quick to work up; I’d barely begun to appreciate them before they were finished. The chance to sit down and enjoy the act of throwing the yarn over the needles, forming stitch upon stitch upon row and row, cherished. I’ve become focussed on drop spindling again, the slowest form of crafting that I do, and in this moment, the most desireable.
I’ve even started to unravel one of my biggest ever projects because the imperfections I forced into it through my impatience have driven me to never want to wear it, and instead of seeing the time spent on it as wasted, I’m loving the opportunity to breath new life into it – that yarn has triple the mileage of any other project I’ve ever done!
Time is the most valuable thing you spend
One of the most significant changes has been how I approach the time I’m not crafting – which to me, used to be the biggest waste of time in my daily life. I wouldn’t allow myself to watch TV without a project in my hand, and the thought of going to a cafe or pub and not taking something to occupy my hands with me was almost unbearable. I don’t always pack knitting in my bag anymore – and sometimes when I do, I don’t take it out as soon as I sit still. My walk to work is often meandering, and I take the time to appreciate the view, observe the swans that live in the harbour, enjoy the great British weather in whatever form it takes. I stop at a cafe on my way home from work, just because I can.
My runs are getting longer and longer because the act of just being out and about is no longer about running between A and B as quickly as possible, but exploring my area and experiencing the ways my body works. I’ve started allowing myself to sit and do nothing – and when I get freaked out about that, I’ve been reminding myself that it’s actually OK to just be, and if I have a problem with it I can just pick up the needles again.
I’ve even found myself appreciating my relationships more. Instead of wishing I could spend more time with people and being sad that they can’t dedicate as much of their time to me as I would like, I’ve found greater appreciation in the time they do spend with me. It has taken the pressure off the relationships a little bit, and also made me cherish them that much more – something that is incredibly important to me as I get older and (theoretically!) wiser.
I guess all of this might mean I’ve learned the art of mindfulness, and am slowly becoming successful in my quest to rediscover who I am. All of this time spent on not focussing on finished objects has meant that I’ve actually been quite productive on a crafting front, but I haven’t necessarily wanted to sit down and write about it. For now, I’ve started using my Instagram story to share more moments of my day – the fleeting, 24 hours the photos stay and the snapshots they capture are really calling to me at the moment, and you can see them here!