Experimenting. That’s what I’ve been doing this month, down in my imaginary Meaning Mondays lab.
Adding a dash of this.
Removing a bit of that.
Adjusting the flame.
Timing it all so that the spell I want to cast turns out just right.
Lest you think I’m some mad scientist, replete with fogged-up goggles and wild hair – nah, I can’t pull that off. Maybe I’m a little eccentric, but I’m more a tinkerer than anything else.
But I do adore experiments.
While commitment may be more fashionable, I often find postponing it in favor of experimentation leads to many meaningful actions, and in the end, firmer commitments.
So lately I’ve been experimenting on someone I know quite well – ME. And I’ve been tinkering with an area of life that’s challenging for lots of us – TIME.
We all seem to want and need more of it, right? And then there’s the whole deal about time whizzing by the older we get. I’ve been chewing on that one, and contemplating some wisdom from Barbara Sher:
And then time changed again at midlife. Suddenly tomorrow has started flying out of our hands before we can catch it…Suddenly you wake up to something you never noticed before: Time doesn’t just rush by faster and faster; it ends…[and] you’re so scared, you could bolt into the traffic like a panicked deer.
So, before you take another step, I want to tell you something you haven’t realized yet. Time is not goingto continue to speed up [because] when your present panic disappears, time will slow down even more, for a very different reason.
Why? Because fear gobbles time…But when the only danger is that time seems to be rushing by, there’s nothing to focus on…What can we experience when we’re anxious? Only the minimum of color and scent, sound and texture and taste. Instead of being happy or sad or wistful or peaceful, we feel emotional white noise.
For my money, that’s one of the best riffs I’ve seen on the passage of time in our anxiety-ridden and overwhelm-producing world. So my experiments have focused on doing time in a mindful, calm way.
Experiment number one
This one’s pretty simple: the computer stays off from Friday afternoon until Sunday evening. It’s my new rule, and after three weekends, I can give a resounding YES to its affects on time.
Yes, time certainly has expanded. I feel more playful, creative, alive. Plus I’m better rested. And you know what? I think my skin looks brighter too. A delightful, unexpected benefit.
Experiment number two
This one’s actually part of an ongoing experiment that’s about to hit its three year anniversary. You see, back in 2007 I got this notion that we could slow down time with a place of our own for weekends. And in a matter of days, I found it on Craigslist: a miniscule apartment in the Russian River Valley, with a rent almost as tiny as its 300 square feet of space. And only about a two-hour drive from Sacramento.
It’s in Camp Meeker, CA. Affectionately known as Damp Sneaker to locals, because it’s deep in the woods in a notoriously wet part of the state.
Now this experiment has been an unqualified success. It’s been a refuge and retreat. Love nest. A base for exploring.
But, (there’s always a but, right?), it’s been a challenge to balance at-home life with at-Camp Meeker life. It’s been harder to get there than we imagined, which segues right into my final experiment.
Experiment number three
Well, I think I’ve finally done it. Tweaked my schedule so I can vacate Sacramento at the end of each month. Head to Camp Meeker. Spend the week reading. Studying. And working on other writing projects (besides blogging).
Ah, I can feel time stretching and deepening already. Because today starts my very first week with this new experiment.
I have only the merest hesitation, mostly because it’s a 15-minute drive to the nearest wireless outpost. All I’ve got in my snug little hideaway is a land line telephone. No cell. No internet. No TV. None of it. So not only will I be away from my actual home, I won’t be around my blogging home as much, either.
What about you?
I’m more than a little curious to hear how you handle the onward rush of time. Any experiments of your own? Tricks that work for you to savor it? You know I’d love to hear!