“When we go to the same places and do the same things, we don’t make distinct memories and time seems to fly by.”
This. Oh my god, this. It came from an article I read about why time seems to go faster as we get older, and it really punched me in the gut. It’s been a long time since I went somewhere new, and my memories are starting to repeat on themselves.
When I’m traveling, time seems to exist in a different dimension. I’m much more likely to say “Has it only been a week since we were in Peru?” than “Has it already been three months since I started this job?”
“Only” and “already”: two very distinct descriptions of time.
2014 has been the year of “already,” to the point where I feel like I’m losing my handle on my reality. I became an Australian resident, Jared and I both started new jobs, we bought a house: we are just now catching our breath. Routine dictates my days, and I am never quite on top of everything on my list.
For someone who doesn’t value being busy, this is disconcerting. When a new O Magazine appeared on my iPad, I used to have to resist reading the whole thing immediately; now I find that the next month’s issue has downloaded before I’ve finished the one I’ve got.
We put travel on hold until after the wedding, thinking that having Hawaii in the pipeline should be enough.
I could feel the sameness of my days piling up at my back, weighing me down. I was spending too much time in front of a screen and not enough time doing things. There are so many things you can do that don’t involve a screen, like puzzles and baking and painting and all that stuff that used to bring us so much joy back when we didn’t care about computers, when their sole purpose was to play Oregon Trail.
Now, I am in front of a screen all the time – during my 4-day-a-week job, when I’m freelancing, when I’m wedding planning, when I’m communicating with people both near and far – it’s way, way, too much. I’m losing my grip on what I want from life, which is not the glow of an LCD, fuzzy vision, and information on command.
Jared came home from work last weekend and came upstairs, where I was sitting in the office, hunched over the computer.
“Go to Kayak,” he instructed me. “Type in Newcastle to Melbourne.”
Inside me, something perked up. I hit enter and Kayak generated a list of non-stop affordable flights to Melbourne, where we’ve been talking about taking a weekend away for months. Within half an hour we’d booked flights and accommodation. I felt centered; it was that easy.
When something isn’t working, waiting for the issue to resolve itself is never the answer. I knew that; I’d just forgotten. In my case, it’s usually remedied by pulling apart my routine.
By planning a trip – large or small – I am able to put the brakes on time, to slow it down a little bit. I pack a bag, pull out a magazine on the plane, and remind myself that there’s a great big world out there, and I can discover it just fine without a WIFI connection and a screen.