It has been a nice, slow day. I have done a bit of writing and some housework. I took a short nap after dinner. Why push time along faster than it has to go? I am in a hurry to make the most of my time, but I do not want it to pass quickly!
I heard an interesting morsel of TV drama script today and it got me thinking. The program is a new series about a guy who has been released after 22 years in prison. He is 40 years old when he gets out. In one episode, he talks about his perception of time as a solitary prisoner in a cell without windows on death row. (Unlike me, he must have been wishing for time to pass by quickly.) When time seems to pass very slowly, he says, one becomes more sensitive to the idea of the future. Anticipation seems more exciting or scary. Sometimes anticipation is pleasant, and other times it is not.
That is one problem with goal-setting. It can make you antsy about tomorrow. I sometimes find myself thinking about my future activities too much. It can give me a nervous stomach for no other reason than I am preoccupied about it. Sure, having goals is mostly positive in that it can give you better direction and identity, creates impetus that swings you into action, and lets you think about what is possible to experience and accomplish. When you have reached a goal, there is the satisfaction of achievement plus other benefits such as a new job, more knowledge, a better relationship, more money, new experiences, and so on.
The TV drama character also compared the life of waiting to that of action. He talked about the outside working and business world being one set to the ticking of the clock, where so much is measured in terms of time, and our activities are assigned to blocks of time on the grid of a time-table with its sharply defined limits.
I guess he understood that as another kind of prison. It is also an extension of the legal justice system, is it not? We can meet with punishment for not following the clock, and punishment can be severe. If you miss time from work or are late for an appointment or ritual, for example, the consequences can be drastic.
Being unnecessarily confined to a schedule is unhealthy. It is good to create a time-line as part of goal-setting, and healthy to have a basic routine, and wise to set time limits for all your activities so as to economize on time and utilize it well. However, being strict about time and watching the clock all the time is stressful and anxiety generating.
It can be liberating to be on down time or vacation time when you have few appointments and it is not necessary to rush around. One should welcome slow days and cherish the luxury of “free” time instead of fretting about wasting time so much. Your body needs to repair itself, for one thing. Anyway, slow days can actually be productive. It is conducive to creativity, for example, because it gives you time to process things and reflect.
While it seemed slow and I did not experience it like work, I actually got a good chunk of work done. I edited a 20-page translation. After that, I caught up with the previous blog. (Working late and feeling tired last night, I postponed writing the day’s blog until today.) then I put through a load of laundry and washed the floor, the latter being a chore that I am generally reluctant to do, proving that my energy was up today. While the laundry was in the machine, I dashed out a couple of anecdotes for the Confessions book. I never had lunch but was fine, probably because I had eaten beef for supper yesterday, which gave me more energy for this morning. In the early afternoon, I made a quick call to Canada then decided I should use some of this time to get a report writing task out of the way. I typed up the report of the international activists’ conference that I attended a month ago. It was a big chore, requiring me to summarize half of the reports in our meeting folder.
This infection must be passing, for I felt more balanced and energized during the day. I woke up with a terrible headache, which is unusual for me. It was not a good experience and I expected another odd low-energy and therefore unproductive day. Yet I took one of the Tylenols from the prescription that I have been stock piling and felt fine.
On another note, I was thinking about poetry as a form of journal writing. That is because I inserted one of my poems into a section in the Confessions file. I thought it was fitting because it recalls and describes real experiences I had and the topic suited the theme of awkward and clumsy moments of social interaction. It is about the difficulties of riding the buses in this region. I have read it to others and they thought it was clever and funny, you see. I thought of using it after I wrote an anecdote about my experiences taking cabs.
It struck me that poetry can operate as a form of journal writing if the content is expressly autobiographical or at least about personal or work experience. Why not? It can even be creative non-fiction, I suppose. The difference is that the style is not prose. Also, it does not rely on direct reportage, but rather employs symbolism and breaks rules of normal grammar and meaning in order to attempt to express what is very difficult to put into words, such as the subtleties or bring out nuances that are not usually perceived. Poetry helps one to consider and study an experience or person or object from different angles. It too can be implemented as a tool of learning and discovery.