Moving fast and slow
We missed out on a lot of celebrations this week.
First, there was a Fireman’s Ball. This takes place on July 13th. It is a dance party put on by fire departments throughout Paris and France. It is very loud.
I know the first part to be true because I watched some videos online and they featured grainy black-and-white footage of various dance crazes from the past six or seven decades.
I know the second part to be true because I was up till 3 am on Thursday, thanks to the DJ playing at the fire station just down the street.
That in turn made for a sleepy Thursday, July 14th aka Bastille Day aka French National Day. By the time one could have conceivably gotten one’s act together to go find some fireworks, one’s eyelids were quite heavy.
(Yes, you have waited seven months to read a letter about how I got sleepy.)
Even when I’m not napping (which will be as tempting as ever during the coming heatwave), it’s been part of a larger trend of focusing on the bigger picture, of keeping one’s eyes on the prize.
As much as it is also an introvert excusing his behavior, I’ve been finding the more that I focus on this long-term goal of setting up systems that enable me to stay here, the less emphasis there is on any single event in the present.
Tha’s because on a moment-to-moment scale, the last few months have been a struggle that medicating by mileage has only slightly helped.
One thing that stopped the spiral?
Looking at where I was a year ago. And two years ago. As always, I’m never not surprised by the difference a year makes.
The Years, They Fly By
July 2020: Packing up an apartment in Los Angeles =>
July 2021: Finishing up research on coffee tourism in Uganda & a National Tourism Policy in Sri Lanka =>
July 2022: Passport Creative having actual clients + a climate change resilience project in Sri Lanka
Finding the first moment of calm in some time, I realized I was not, in fact, failing completely.
This was a nice realization.
In an attempt to realize it more often, I doubled down on the long-term horizon, the further building out of PC, the focusing on the visa renewal metrics, the building of a life.
When I focused too much on the short-term – on the bureaucratic calls, on the uneven clients, on the lack of progress – I couldn’t help but feel weighed down by how slow I was moving.
As a result, I’ve been prioritizing consistency with the kind of work I see carrying over to the larger goals. Committing to another longer-term tourism project. Developing a travel project of my own. Training for a 50k.
The side effects of this head-down approach seem to have been a sort of loss of the moment.
For a person who prides himself on observing well and (occasionally) thoughtfully, I only now notice moments as they’re passing by. I only now hear the DJ playing at 3 am, the fireworks as they close out the show.
I’ve been present in the work that could establish a future, while being less present in the world I’d be spending that future in.
I’m not sure how that balance changes back. I know that it needs to, that it likely starts with noticing more, and that writing has always helped clarify those things.
So, we’ll start there. See you again very soon.