Archive for January 24th, 2007

Wearing a watch

Lately, I’ve been able to hear myself think – this is strange because I also recently started wearing a watch again. These things tend to be mutually exclusive, the hands of my watch running circles around my head as I try to keep up with a schedule. During the busy weeks, even lunch hour becomes an exercise in premeditated routine, designed for maximum sandwich-chewing efficiency so that I can make my next class or appointment. Time at the cafe? Engineered towards optimal relaxation and newspaper-reading.

The space in between my commitments – when I’m walking, riding my bike, or laying down – has traditionally been tied up in daydreams, reminiscing about a bar in Seoul or imagining a hidden tea house in Nepal. All of that is lovely, but it often leaves me feeling exhausted and frustrated with the state of my own life.

The tricky thing about wanderlust is that it is a chronic condition; even after arriving at a long-anticipated destination, the bug catches you again, and you find yourself already itching to drift along. The itch keeps you from being content with where you are, happy only in the action of traveling – there have been periods in my life when I felt the most presence of mind only when flying or riding the train.

But while this constant longing for motion and transition is a necessary motivator for those with aspirations to see the world, the other edge of the sword is that is cultivates a mindstate that rarely pauses to appreciate the moment – it’s hard to enjoy Prague when your head is still at 30,000 feet.

The watch reminds me that things are moving forward, but being present means feeling and living the space between the seconds, hearing my own thoughts and taking slow breaths – I’m happy being at home here, in this city between two lakes, so that I can be happy when it comes time for me leave it.

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January 2007