An Essay On Maximizing Time and Experiential Living || And In That Moment, I Swear We Were Infinite
“Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.”
I had this quote engraved on the back of my wood watch. Zebrawood is native to West Africa, one of its defining features being its very pronounced growth rings. Akin to the way nature reveals the life of a tree – lean periods of fire, drought, flood, as well as periods where a tree thrives – through these concentric annual markings in the hardwood, we can measure the quality of our lives through these key defining moments of our journeys.
As it approaches the end of the year, I get a sense of restlessness. A persistent tug to wander into the forest, sit barefoot under the stars, and take stock of the year that just passed.
And with it, a reckless yearning for something divine – the constant sense that I am racing against time to discover some new piece of myself, experience one more moment that takes my breath away, before the countdown clock reaches zero and another year slips into oblivion.
Yugen is a concept in Japanese aesthetics that refers to ‘an awareness of the Universe that triggers emotional responses too deep and powerful for words’. And as I struggle to find the words to describe the deep contentment, the heightened sense of every color and sound, I realize that there are experiences that can only be shared by being there, and that no immaculate weaving together of adjectives and metaphors can do such moments justice.
Every living landscape has its own soundtrack – the sound of a rushing brook in the Californian redwoods as sunlight streams through the leaves, a thousand dew-drops glittering in the mid-morning glow. Just as the haunting strains of the Flume remix of Eliza Doolittle’s You And Me find me as they echo through my memories of Prawirotaman, a district of Indonesia most will likely never hear of in their lives. Now and then, a flashback of lounging by an salt-water indoor pool, with walls of green from the hydroponics gardens in the atrium above, moves through me. Even as I sat there wondering why on earth there was grated cheese on my non-savory dessert, I didn’t know that out of so many striking moments in a life-changing 3 month journey, this would be the one that comes back to find me again and again.
I am constantly reminded of time, how the seconds blur into minutes into years, and how moments we do not reach out and grab hold of rush past us in this vortex we live in until they disappear behind a mountain of paperwork at a job we find no joy in, or merely become lost in the inevitable challenges of building a life. And like a daisy in the desert, or a rogue idea of a different life that seems too far-fetched to be pursued, they too wither and die from neglect, or move on to another dreamer.
Paradoxically, it is at times like these, when the pressure of achieving something with our time beats against us, that we are better off seeking calm and solace in a place where we can disconnect ourselves from the anxiety-driven pace of modern life. They say in the world of acting of the best performers in the room at auditions: ‘bookers slow down time’. And like these Olympic athletes of the arts, we can slow down time by retreating to a place where we feel the most connected to source and that profound awareness of the Universe.
Eventually, I find myself called back to nature.
Tall pines and the sky awash with the pink of the setting sun always beckons me, because out there where the bears and the coyotes make their home, that is the only place where I am not reduced to just another player in the game of life. A life where we race against the numbers illuminated in the corner of our screens – day after day – as we chase a feeling we are never quite able to put into words.
Here, everything extraneous falls away – and what stays with me, what always finds a way to pierce my consciousness again and again – that is how I know what is truly important.
Only then and there can we feed that wild part of us that wants to feel the dirt beneath our feet and bask under a million stars, so that we can wake up anew the next day and fight another day to build the life we dream of.
“To watch the sun sink behind a flower clad hill. To wander on in a huge forest without thought of return. To stand upon the shore and gaze after a boat that disappears behind distant islands. To contemplate the flight of wild geese seen and lost among the clouds…” ~Zeami Motokiyo
This post was produced in partnership with JORD Watches. Acacia, bamboo, ebony, golden camphor, koa, kosso, maple, olive, purple heart, rosewood, sandalwood, walnut, zebrawood: the 13 types of wood that are used in their women’s wooden watches and men’s wooden watches. With a focus on sustainability, efficiency and experiential living, I love the classic and grounded designs. After all, I am not after anything flashy or impractical, just a time-keeper that is as at home out in a cabin in the forest as I am. JORD are a collective of artists, designers and minders, who are also makers of unique men’s and women’s watches for people who ‘don’t just have somewhere to be, (but) have somewhere to go’. They understand the value of the need to be aware of the importance of making the time count, beyond just having a timepiece to be able to tell how much time has passed. Because they are right: moments are indeed bigger than minutes and your watch should indeed tell more than time. A companion on a search for meaning and perfect for holiday gifting.
To celebrate the coming holiday season, and to help you on your quest for perfect holiday gifts, Jord is currently giving away 25% off gift codes, applicable for use on anything from the entire JORD range. Check it out at this link here if you want to get in on it! The watch pictured is the Zebrawood and Maple from their Fieldcrest collection, which I picked for its earthy tones and back-to-basics design. The codes will expire on the 19th Dec! ❤