After the Christmas break, here I am to close the year with a new article. These last few weeks have been full of work, outside and inside.
To the latter category belongs a process that I had always wanted to do but, until now, had never been able to carry out: to overcome the horror vacui . Those of you who have read my books know what I am talking about: it is this inertia or fear that makes us fill all the gaps in our schedule.
Perhaps because of my Buddhist beliefs, I usually define myself as a person without special desires. I haven’t longed for anything I don’t already have, except one thing: time.
I have been poor in the most precious of resources for twenty years. By relying solely on yourself, as a freelancer it is easy to find yourself dragged to work from Monday to Sunday, and in my most insane stage from morning until dawn.
Of course, all this frenzy of activity is not real, but a projection of what my mind thought life was. While reviewing my book that Kairós will publish in March, the editor Ana Pániker reminded me of a phrase by Alan Watts: “As the world is not going anywhere, there is no rush.“
It is certainly the case, you just have to assume it and start freeing up space in your calendar without fear. This 2021 has been very beautiful and productive, but I have lived with the constant burden of not having a single afternoon for myself. When I didn’t have courses, they were meetings on Zoom, consultancies, or other commitments.
Something as simple as reading a book or going to the movies seemed like an impossible mission. As December entered, I finally rolled up my sleeves, determined that 2022 will be totally different. For this I have had to make many decisions, and some of them were difficult:
- Seeing that a book for which I had been hired as a ghostwriter was taking forever, I returned all the money from the advance, with which I gave away two months of work, but I took a good burden off myself.
- I asked my friend Silvia Adela Kohan for a break in the creative writing courses that we have been doing for six months. We will return in a while, but with a different format and frequency.
- I decided with Héctor García that this Christmas promotion would be the last of our Ikigai courses, which since the pandemic we have been organizing every three months. 2022 will thus be the last year with live sessions on Saturdays, on a regular basis.
- I have not scheduled new concerts or alternative shows for the next quarter, as I have been organising for two decades one Sunday —sometimes more — a month.
- I have given up all commitments, social or artistic, that did not bring me true happiness.
Now I look at the 2022 agenda and I see it, already since January, astonishingly empty. Since I started working, I have never lived like this, and I feel a certain vertigo, as if these gaps in my schedule could swallow me up into a universe of emptiness.
What will it be like to live with a calendar that looks like the Siberian steppe in winter? I’ll tell you in a few weeks. Now that I walk lightly, it will be much easier for me to be here every Monday.
My eternal war, which I did not manage to win until this December, was against the indiscriminate occupation of time. Which is yours? There is only one way to escape the spiral: if you want something different, stop doing the same.
Happy last days of the year!