Posts tagged ‘ritual’

January 27, 2011

a special kind of crazy

i am anxious about time.

some mornings i rise at 8:30 and some a little before 11; whatever the time, i sit down to write for an hour, using a sand timer, an lp, and lots and lots of tea. and in the middle of it i am usually shaking with mild panic about where it’s all heading, and by the end i feel that satisfaction that can only be won through having done it long enough, from warming up and getting through a rough patch. and then it’s over.
this morning ritual is constant; without it i’d probably go mad in no time. but transitioning from the morning to the rest of the day is where things go wrong: it doesn’t matter when i begin; when the hour is up, i immediately want to reclaim it. something about being properly productive makes you feel, somewhere in your head, that you should get the time back because you used it so well. perhaps it is akin to that somewhat perverse thought you have after someone you love has died; you’ve bonded with your friends, learned the importance of honesty and¬†companionship, and you have a moment where you think, i’ve learned the lesson. can i have them back now?
any pocket of time, well used or wasted, makes me fixate on the clock. no amount of rational awareness of the ‘illusion’ of time can stop me from this anxiety. a clock is ticking somewhere, and it is the sound of terror.
after a bit of analysis, i realize that this can never be overcome directly; no amount of productivity will ever be Enough to quell the fear that comes when the day wanes. it’s just there. life is moving toward its end – slow as it may feel – but all the same, it’s there (as this fact is universal, i feel like it shouldn’t bother me as much as it does. surely other people have found some way to live with it). it is vague and unhelpful to focus on ‘just doing what you want to do’ (try staying up til all hours some night because it ‘felt like the thing to do’ and tell me how great you feel the next day), and going clock-free doesn’t stop the clocks in your mind.
what does it take? how can we be satisfied?
no answers. the best i can do is to work day in, day out and make little tweaks based on each day’s experience. working on things does not give you answers, but it does teach you tricks. learning your own special brand of crazy so you can better trick yourself into circumventing it is worth a lot.

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