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Summer #2: The Busyness Detox
Entering into my summer slow-down, living with desire, and a really good cucumber feta dip.
My summer break has officially begun. As I mentioned last week, I decided to take the month of July away from work to fully enjoy summer, let the knots in my brain dissolve a bit, and dive into all the creative projects that have been piling up on the proverbial back burner.
As I anticipated, there’s been a bit of a detox process from the usual busyness of life. This is why I adapted Haley’s idea of creating a menu of summer fun, rather than a to-do list of projects. I know myself well enough to realize that I’ll need to take care, lest I turn my vacation into some sort of optimization challenge.
Because it’s only been a few days, it still feels like a long weekend, with all the normal feelings that come with a typical weekend for me; this includes a very strong desire to make the best possible use out of every minute. But my one and only goal for this month is to learn to deal with the discomfort of a beautiful but imperfect day.
I feel very lucky to be able to take this much time off from work to decompress, but what makes me feel even luckier is that I genuinely enjoy my work. I don’t just mean that I’m excited about it or that it feeds my ego or validates my existence, which have all been primary motives for me in the past. I mean that I really enjoy it.
Recently, I went through an exercise to try to free up some time in what’s become a very packed schedule. It involved going through all my recurring daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly tasks and estimating the time they take, how much impact they have, and how much enjoyment I get from them. What I found is that about 90% of my time at work is taken by things I really love – I’m talking a 9 or 10 on a 10 point scale.
But it’s the sheer volume of them that I find stressful. I want to do it all, but I simply cannot.
I have the same problem in my personal life. I want to do everything. My list of books on hold at the library is longer than my arm; I have a similarly long list of sewing projects I wish I could do; I have new hobbies I really want to learn more about; I want more animals; I want a bigger garden; I want to see friends more; I’d love to paint our bedroom.
Want want want want want. Desire is such a pure and primal thing. The feeling of wanting is so important to our brains, so necessary for our physical survival, that we twist ourselves up in all kinds of knots over it. It rarely seems to arrive without a little dose of guilt or shame or anxiety or FOMO to spur you to actually take action.
So I suppose my real challenge this month is learning to notice and live with desire. There’s always more, there’s always better. But there’s also always the chance to unwind from all of that and remember to just be.
Head, Heart, Hands
Things to make us think, feel, and do.
How “Open-Eared” Are You? I’ve been thinking about this one a lot, as the streaming algorithms seem to always lock me into my favorite music and I guess I am old enough that I’ve stopped resisting. I have a lot of thoughts about this, and about the benefits and drawbacks of this aspect of ageing.
And how’s that working out for you? asks Oliver Burkeman, unintentionally quoting Dr. Phil.
Studio as a verb, which is nice to think about as I prepare to move into my new shed-turned-studio (more on that soon, I’m sure). Though I’m pretty sure the verb studiare just means “to study” in Italian?
Holly Whitaker writes about disappearing. I had so many heavy thoughts from reading this. I identified with some of it, other parts just made me remember things I’ve gone through with my relationship to work and rest in years past. Clearly, people are exhausted.
I thought this roundup of quilts and eiderdowns from House & Garden might inspire some lovely ideas for wholecloth quilts.
I went to a party recently where a friend brought the most amazing cucumber feta dip, so I looked up a recipe and made my own this week. Here’s the recipe I used. I brought it to a 4th of July barbeque and we had it with honey dijon potato chips, and the combo was pretty incredible.