I recently had the opportunity to visit the Akrotiri archaeological site on Santorini island in Greece, along with a couple of museums housing works of art discovered at the site. Observing items that were created thousands of years before the common era led me to think about humans’ desire to make art. The pieces on display were not limited to pottery designed to hold water and foodstuffs, nor to religious symbols. There were elaborate wall paintings and meticulously crafted sculptures of animals and human figures. Like other artists throughout history, these people of the distant past devoted time and scarce resources to producing beautiful objects that served no obvious utilitarian purpose. Our drive to make things that we don’t really need is unique to humans and appears to be deeply ingrained. Why do we do it?
As my mom will tell you, I’ve never very been good at relaxing. Since about sixth grade, I’ve been involved in all sorts of things. As an adult, you will rarely find me sitting down when I’m at home. I tend to spend my evenings and weekends working out, doing yard work, doing laundry or other chores around the house, attending a meeting or event, visiting friends, or working on some kind of project. I pretty much never sit in front of a television, and my relaxation time is usually scheduled (e.g., yoga class, meditation group, occasional massage or mani/pedi).
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
Embroidery available from StartingStitches on Etsy
In this occasional series, I’ll share what I’ve been reading, watching, thinking, and doing.
What I’m Reading:
- Nightstand: The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
- Handbag: All About Love: New Visions, bell hooks
- Audible: Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Recently finished and recommended to a friend: I Was Told There’d Be Cake, Sloane Crosley
What I’m Watching: Master of None, Season 2
What I’m Listening To: Modern Love, “A Slow Fade to Black”
Current Guilty Pleasure: ice cream (most recently from Marble Slab)
Where I’ve Been Recently: Chattanooga, TN
What I’m Looking Forward To: My trip to Greece later this summer!
Recent Moment of Joy: Reconnecting with a former colleague from a past job and learning that we have more in common than I’d realized
Currently Inspired By: My friend M, who fought through a painful foot injury to complete her third half-Ironman last weekend. She ran her first 5k just a couple of years ago. Way to go, M!
Grateful For: A beautiful, sunny day after a long rainy spell
Have a lovely weekend!
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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how I’ve cut back on the amount of time I spend scrolling through social media feeds and reading articles online in order to free up more time for writing in the mornings and evenings. I’m also attempting to replace mindless phone-checking throughout the day with other more meaningful tasks — things like mindful breathing, short bursts of physical activity, and reading books. My overarching goal is to use my time more deliberately instead of impulsively reacting to whatever is aiming to capture my attention. Time, after all, is a scarce and non-renewable resource. To riff off Annie Dillard, how we spend our minutes is how we spend our hours, how we spend our hours is how we spend our days, and how we spend our days is how we spend our lives.