“. . .we are all so busy, and have so many far-off projects to realise, and castles in the fire to turn into solid habitable mansions on a gravel soil, that we can find no time for pleasure trips into the Land of Thought. . .”
My dad had a leather briefcase he took with him to work and brought home at the end of the day.
I have no idea what was in there, and it didn’t really matter. I just know that he never seemed to open it at home. It just sat in the corner, ready for him to carry into the office the next workday.
There was a slowness to those days.
Nothing frenetic that had to be done immediately when he got home. No one checking or rechecking on the status of a project. No bells or whistles going off to remind him of something he’d left undone at the office.
That was there. This was home. Never the twain shall meet.
. . .
I miss those days . . . in the way one misses something they never had.
From my first real job in Chicago to owning a marketing firm for 10 years now, my work has always lived outside a leather satchel — always accessible via a desktop computer, then a laptop, and now a mobile appendage.
But lately, I’m trying to reclaim that same slow pace.
I’ve become more aware of the negative repercussions of having access to all the things at all the times.
How it lies to me and makes me anxious. What might I miss? What won’t I know? How will I not be entertained? How it keeps me always on and always checking in Pavlovian manner the chimes on my devices.
How it’s forced me to expect immediate results in everything I encounter. Anything from email replies to my own life transformations, I want answers right away.
How my brain has trained my muscles to look down, lift up a device, and swipe up feverishly if a few too many moments of silence have passed. That sitting alone with my thoughts now feels uncomfortable.
How it always has me seeking more — more answers, more things, more amusements — and then left me oftentimes dissatisfied in my current state.
. . .
But I’m confident that I can still create my own briefcases in this century.
That I can find ways to put away the mostly meaningless distractions and attractions in my life and make room for the forgotten ways of peace, awareness, stillness, leisure, daydreams, ignorance, . . .