What do you do in your spare time?

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Art by : Kikkujo

I woke up to this question today, a remnant of an already-forgotten dream, and it really rattled me.

The idea that there are hours that are valued less or more than others. Does this mean that there is Time that you can afford to waste? To lose like a spare cent or two that you drop on the street, shrugging it off as it is trampled, as it rolls away into the gutter?

Don’t get me wrong, this is something I’ve done countless times: I’ve scrolled my Time away on social media, fed it to algorithms and data structures, and Time has slipped from my fingers, uncaring.

But also, here’s the thing: I’ve loved wasting some of the time I’ve wasted. I have valued “spare” time more than I have other, valuable (working) time. But these are the kinds of societies we are heading towards or live in, already: ones where work is the single most important aspect of our lives, and all our Time is structured around it. Our lives are divided into “Work” and “Non-work” time, where we view everything else in relation to our jobs and take decisions accordingly: meeting up with old friends, dates, romantic relationships, going to an event, dying our hair, getting a piercing.

I don’t think human beings were made for this. For work that takes this big a chunk out of life, that overpowers all its other facets. I don’t think I am cut out for this (and yet, who really is? We are all thrown into it and we cope the best we can. Who really chooses this kind of lifestyle? No, most people just fall into it and never get back up).

Do we truly have “spare” time? Or is it instead that the value of our Time is being decided using criteria we had no choice over — instead imposed by “society”, itself a grey, hulking mass nobody knows the real identity of. There is no such thing to me as spare time. All Time matters. I could not “spare” even one bit of it. I will not let the world define which parts of my life matter. I will choose that for myself, thank you very much.

All Time is valuable, regardless of how you spend it, so long as it enriches your experience of existence.

But at the same time, do not fret (as I did, as I do) once you realise all moments will not be perfect, that you aren’t always able to make every moment worth it. It matters only that you try. That you seize what you can of Time and make it your own.

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A true sadness.

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Art by: 9jedit

I have been looking into myself this past month.

After a few weeks of dedication to the task, I have come upon something a little troubling: a well of deep sadness. Not a deep well of sadness, either but very much a well of profound sadness.

It’s hard to admit that this is the result of decluttering my heart and clearing my mind.

But I should have known. I have reached here before, I have come across this precipice and turned my back to it, preferring a mellower life and sweet, honeysuckle days. But whatever I do, I ultimately return to it. Whatever paths I take in life, when it matters most, it is this silent force I encounter.

Should I continue running, turning from it ? Perhaps I can avoid it all my life?

Bu really, what else is there to do but accept it?

This sadness, it’s not fun. It’s not exciting and definitely not what I want. But it’s true. It’s authentic.

And so, it deeply characterises me. I’ve been writing about it, scratching its surface, knocking its door for a long time now. And I think it’s time. I have enough strength that now I can choose a true sadness over a distracting joy. I’ve reached a point now where I can accept whatever this sadness says about me.

I suspect it’s a lot of grief for the world, an idealist’s mourning of injustice. But perhaps there is regret too, resentment.

But I must go there. I must face myself, I must accept who I am, whoever that is. It is the only way, the true way.

I would be lying if I said I was unafraid, if I wasn’t clinging onto old joys, onto materialism and comforting clutter— all those things, really, that I turned to so I could avoid facing that sadness.

I am so scared of losing myself. It is so difficult to surrender, to let these waves of change carry me away —or worse yet—to let them wash over me, carrying away the parts of me they want, keeping the parts they want.

And yet,tremulous as my heart is, it feels right. My heart can stand up to this.

Every path has led to this. Every crossroads, every person I have met, every event and non-event, every stranger I have ever wondered about, every 2 a.m, every night I shivered on the balcony.

Every turn in life has led here. If I back out now, I lose myself again. I wander, no, I err again, uncertain to my core. I drown again in shallowness, chasing moments of infinity forever.

All I fear is touching an energy too raw for me to handle, of stumbling on an emotion too close to my heart.

But wells run deep, I tell myself. Their depths do not spring out of nowhere. It means that as long as I follow this sadness, I get closer to myself.


Listening to:

Essentialism.

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Art by: Pride Nyasha

The more things I have, the less I want them.

I didn’t grow up rich or poor, but we were always trying to pinch pennies, to make the most of what we had. For one, we’d never been able to go on holidays as a family, it wasn’t even an idea we could entertain. I am aware that as I describe this middle-class setting, I am already more privileged than I can fathom.

I was fortunate enough to have all my basic necessities covered, allowing me to long for more. Still, we had to be careful with our things and would not think to ask the latest things from our parents. So like everyone else, I grew up wishing for things : the newest clothes, cars, holidays.

At some point though, it stopped mattering.

Now that I am able to have these things, I realise I do not really want them, I do not wish to hang on to them. Owning things weighs me down. A little like when you have had a too-heavy meal, and realise you overdid it. My arms hurt from carrying all this…stuff (nameless, characterless objects) and all I want is to go straight to what is essential. Everything else is just add-ons; I wouldn’t, couldn’t be happy with more.

So no, I do not want these markers of “success”, these…accessories. They distract from what is truly important. Like gaudy jewellery and shiny baubles that divert the attention from a simple, elegant dress.

Pare everything down, strip it to the core. I do not want more than what is essential.

Owning things does not fulfil me. It does not make me happy or content. It could never rival the simple things in life that I adore : rain, a worn, comfortable shirt, warmth, time spent with family and friends.

In fact, things come in the way of all that. Material gains make you forget what you were looking for truly, all this time.

And by that, I do not mean I will not buy material goods. It does not mean that I will not own a phone. It means I will not rush headlong into buying the latest iPhone, just because it is the latest iPhone. 

I will not listen to what the world says I need in order to be happy. I know what I need. And it is not material possessions bought for the sake of owning them or impressing others.

It is the simple things. Always has been, always will be.


Quote of the day: 

« On ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. »

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Burning.

young adult old soul writing magic realism art
Art by : Levitann

At least once in your life, do something truly great. Something greater than you.

This thought came to disrupt my concentration, like a grain of sand in a well-oiled machine.I had been typing away an article about new tile collections (not as boring as it sounds) when it happened. So ensconced I was in my seat, in my thoughts and combination of words that it did not seem possible that this had come from me.

Yet left and right, everyone was as sucked into their own screens as I was.

It dawned on me then what caused it. All the generous amount of time I had been spending slowly, intentionally was reaping its fruits : creativity, disruption.

Doing “nothing” and being alone lets the mind wander. Instead of only exposing the mind to others’ ideas, you let the ones from your own sprout. They grow in silence until, one day out of the blue, their tender leaves tickle your clouds of thoughts and startle you awake.

“For even one time in your life,” some part of my brain pressed on, “see how far you can go for no other reason than to just know. Journey all the way to your last limit and discover, uncover new and old things about you. Push your small clay body to its earthly limits, show the universe what you’re made of. Don’t you want to experience even once the feeling of being the ultimate form you can be? What’s the point of being given a life if once at least, you don’t live it above and beyond the average? Set out to conquer yourself, to overcome the version of you that you are now!”

Be better, burn, burn in the pursuit of a nameless truth. Burn from passion, and do not ever satisfy yourself with the safety of a lukewarm life.

Lunch break thoughts.

Young Adult Old Soul Magic Realism
Art by : Miles Hyman

How long has it been since I’ve written just for the sake of writing? Not to make something beautiful, not to get better at it, but just to let go?

Writing for the blog, I always try to make a point (consciously or not). But I am now going to write pointlessly again. To write a lot, to not erase one single thing I am writing as I write it because I think one word would be better suited than the other. I’ve removed all the barriers between me and writing, between me and myself.  Between the me I present to the world, this façade and the me inside. Both are equally real but would not survive without the other.

I like having the liberty again to not make sense, to just conjure images that I like, that crop up in my head. I like writing and exploring my own unconscious desires, like just now I realise I really would like to visit a castle, to own a small island for solitary getaways and small adventures. I want to retreat more inside myself. Ironically that is the follow-up to my wanderlust. An acute sense of introspection, a desire to find within the things I witnessed outside. To point at a map and the feelings the location procured and finding it in myself.Like pointing at a star and then to its vestiges in myself.

Is it strange?

I don’t much care if it is.

I am writing for myself. In no way am I obliged to make any sense to anyone, not even myself. I write the way you test out a new pen: all scribbles and intelligible ink blots. And it’s a lot of fun. It’s freeing and word-vomit and nobody cares. Nobody should. How freeing to not have others’ opinions attached to something I do or write.

I love that I’ve found the door to this kind of writing again. It allows me to do what I’ve said I would this year: write the things that truly matter. So I don’t look back and wish I’d written this thing that is still on my mind. So I don’t look back and think that I can’t see myself in the things I have written or created. That’s also why I got the piercing : not to have regrets.

I’ve always had a little Rock’n’Roll in me. A little bit of an “I want to be different” kind of streak. A “rebel against the establishment” vibe even as I dutifully sat in a classroom made of neat rows and columns, even as I completed the picture, the perfect square. Something in me always cried “F the system.”.

So now, 20ish years later, as cliché as it sounds, the piercing is a way to go a little against the grain.


Like the rebel I am, I am listening to this 😂  :