I thrive on deadline pressure. My 24-year career as an editor and publications manager has been spent producing publications on time and on budget.
I am also always in a hurry to get to the next items on my endless lists. Living in the future, rather than the present, you might say.
I’m not sure if the reason I’m a good fit for a deadline-oriented job is because I’m always in a hurry, or if the reason I’m always in a hurry is because I’ve lived my entire professional life on deadline. It’s the chicken and the egg.
But the idea that it’s all about the journey, not the destination, has been rolling around in my brain for a while now. I’ve been wanting to slow things down; but in the rush of everyday life — work, family, volunteering — I had not found a way to do so.
And then, in November, my employer of 17 years and I mutually agreed to part ways. I was no longer a fit for them, and they were no longer a fit for me. So we amicably separated.
And I’ve discovered a little time to slow down. This has benefited not only my life, but also my sewing.
I read a quote in Threads magazine quite some time ago that went something like this: “Why are you rushing? When you finish this project, you’ll just be starting another one.” And more recently, I saw somewhere: “Why are you in a hurry? It’s your hobby.”
The teal dress is a perfect example of my slowing down: A partial muslin, a wearable muslin, then the final product with time-intensive seam finishes. Slow, sloww, slowww.
But, in my mind at least, a triumph. To me, that dress was a culmination of everything I know about sewing, 30 years in.
And the rest of my life?
I’m slowing that down as well. Sometimes, when I find myself rushing, I stop and instruct myself: “Slow down. Do one thing at a time.”
My editing is better. My house is (marginally) cleaner. I make more meals. I spend more quality time with my children. I (try to) make shorter to-do lists.
And I feel like I’m getting more done and enjoying it more.
I know the sewing is better. More importantly, the life is better. My business as an independent editor and publications manager is not yet where I want it to be, but I’m also taking my time with that. I want to build a business I can be proud of. To do so, I may have to speed my life back up. But I hope it won’t ever be as fast as it was before.
Modern life seems to dictate that we be in a hurry all the time. Our ever-present smart phones send us constant reminders of our multiple obligations and the next items on our to-do lists. But do we really need to rush through life?
I think there’s room for us all to slow down a little.
This post (and the crafting quotes included in it) resonate so deeply with me. From pretty much my earliest days, I’ve been a total workaholic and hard core multi-tasker, and while my health problems do slow me down a great deal on those fronts, I often persist at trying to cram as much into one day as possible (which, understandably, is usually nothing but detrimental for said health problems). Recently I’ve been purposely trying to set aside a day at least a couple of times a month in which I just unwind, take things easy, sleep, meditate, anything that is peaceful and in the moment. I’m really enjoying it and find it helps me to actually be more productive the next day, which (not to sound blatantly like Martha) is certainly a good thing in and of itself.
I have many days when I don’t feel like I got anything “productive” done, but when I review I realize I got lots of things done. Obviously, we are just expecting too much of ourselves. One or two “me” days a month is a wonderful idea to take a step back and enjoy.