FEBRUARY 2023 – World continues to turn, even in those quiet moments when everything seems so still and meditative. Our experience of time is often so uneven, weeks that feel like months, hours that feel like seconds. I recently re-watched Denis Villeneuve’s film ‘Arrival’ (which is brilliant if you haven’t yet seen it, no spoilers here, but highly recommended watching if you enjoy sci-fi/suspense/drama) and his work rarely fails to land me in a contemplative mood. It is difficult to take a step back and reflect on the big picture of our own lives, a life that is often measured by the big milestones (birthdays, new jobs, etc), which I totally understand, but I think my memory is often more modulated by novelty. Ask me what I had for lunch a week ago and I wouldn’t have a clue. But I can recall with clarity my first recital in fifth grade or waking up drooling after having my wisdom teeth out.
Seasons, holidays, celebrating life’s successes, big and small, all of this creates touchstones for our memories to be built from and influences how we experience time. How you approach this can either slow down or speed up your perception of time. Typically we want the good times to last and the painful times to pass. Getting older impacts the perception of time as each day becomes a smaller and smaller fraction of the whole entirety of your life, so by comparison, this speed, relative to the whole, is going by faster. Being ‘busy’ also impacts this too, which is why modern technology, avoiding being bored by being on our phones/screens, makes the experience of life seem much faster. Not just because it is inundating us with ever constant stimulation, but because it never gives our minds time enough to pull focus and slow down our perception. Try meditating for an hour, it will feel like A LONG TIME.
Continuing this reflective vibe, I also re-read ‘Mill’ by the incomparable David Macaulay as research for a design project I’m working on. Macaulay is a fantastic illustrator, writer, and was classically trained as an architect at the Rhode Island School of Design. His black and white illustrations are absolutely brilliant and I remember getting lost in his drawings as a kid, particularly in his book ‘Castle’. He features building cross-sections, aerial views of landscapes, and numerous construction and behind-the-scenes drawings in many of his books, which makes them a well-spring of inspiration for any up and coming creative. And I really like how he weaves a narrative into his history lessons about the creation of a landmark period feature building, in this case a fictional Mill built in Rhode Island. A joy to read and definitely a cornerstone of my childhood.
Whether it is because I’ve been so busy or because it has been a month full of diligent work efforts and too many repetitive bowls of oatmeal for breakfast, time feels like it is flying by! So, dear reader, I hope you can take a moment, unplug from the world and throw in a bit of memorable celebration to your life this week. Maybe try a new restaurant, visit a local tourist attraction, explore a park you’ve been meaning to, start planning your next vacation. You won’t regret it and you just might remember it when looking back on 2023 in the future.