Where has the time gone?
“Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” ~Ferris Bueller
I sit here today after being in Spain for more than two months and I’ve barely written a word. No, that’s not true, of course. I’ve written many, many words.
I’ve written an entire manuscript. And I’ve made substantial edits to another.
I’ve written - and given - several lectures. I’ve written copious edits and comments to my poor students who then had to read and respond to them all.
I’ve written materials for two new work projects that have kicked off just since I’ve been here.
I’ve written I don’t know how many Spanish verb conjugations and vocabulary words and sentences providing examples of syntax and structure.
I’ve written emails and texts and made travel plans and dinner reservations and suggested things to do while others were visiting me here.
I’ve written but I’ve not really written.
I’ve been living life, I guess, but seemingly sped up. As if my time here were in fast forward.
Funny, isn’t it? It’s exactly the opposite reason I’m here.
Part of the magic of Spain is its people’s ability to turn it off, so to speak. They know how to rest. They know how to set work down at the end of the day and spend their evenings with family or friends. Lingering over long dinners. Walking through beautiful plazas. Savoring.
It’s part of their culture. It is not part of mine.
I’m rubbish at rest. To say nothing of savoring.
But writing helps. Allows me to stop and look around.
I’ve been lamenting a bit lately that my mind can’t seem to settle enough to write. That I can’t think about any one thing long enough or in the right kind of depth to be able to write about it. Now though, I realize I’ve got that backward.
The act of writing about something is the way for me to settle and write. The more I write the more settled I feel. The more able I am to linger and savor.
And the opposite is true as well.
The longer I go feeling unable to write the more scattered I get. The more I seem to wonder where my time has gone and what I’ve been doing with it. The harder it is to get back to writing.
A feedback loop they call this in biology.
So, I’ve discovered that sometimes you simply must interrupt the loop. I must, in this example, force myself to sit down and write.
Life won’t always obey and slow down on its own even if that’s what you truly want it to do. Just like I worked hard to maneuver my life onto the path I envisioned, so must I continue to work to keep it from straying.
And this doesn’t have to mean giving things up. It could merely mean taking a page from the Spanish and remembering that I can set them down. That I can always just decide to take time to think and consider – or linger and savor as the case may be.
Surely something worth noting and taking to heart as I look to the end of my time here.
Also worth noting...
Views from my lovely little studio flat on Plaça de Lope de Vega.
La playa! La hermosa arquitectura.
The delights of Spain! Hiking in the mountains to amzing Roman ruins and an evening of flamenco music and dancing.
A quick weekend trip to Madrid. What a crazy, bustling city, with the most massive flea market you could imagine!
But most importantly, Valencia!
Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias (The City of Arts and Sciences). Designed by Santiago Calatrava and Félix Candela and designated one of the "Twelve Treasures of the Kingdom of Spain."
La catedral (near the center) and la seu (just to the left) de Valencia. The bells of the cathedral and the adjoining basicilla punctuate life here in the city center.
Plaça de la Reina just around the corner from me and where I have spent many happy times usually with a café con leche and a zumo de naranja.