I’m soooooooo slow.
It’s crazy, actually – when I look at the people around me, the number of things they’re able to get done in one hour, in one day, in one year, in one lifetime, I think to myself: Nope, no way. Not me.
I mean, look, it took me 10 years of this blog before I decided to write a book. And I promise, you only need a tiny bit of success with a blog before the offers start pouring in.
Usually people would jump on a book offer, right?
Well, not me. I mean, yes, I jumped on it, but Garance style. In slow motion.
At the same time, I’d known for a long time. My absurd habit of reading the horoscope regularly (inexplicable, irrational, but incredibly persistent)(I think I’ve read so many horoscopes about my Taurus personality that I’ve probably become even more Taurus than I really was before) gave me plenty of notice.
Tauruses are slow. I’d never taken that seriously, but when I look at my life in retrospect (which is the kind of thing you can do at my age, when you REALLY learn about yourself) I realize there’s something to it.
My “studies” lasted about 10 years. I tried different things, took my time, asked myself three million questions, and I experienced life.
I started working (like not just side jobs, but a real career) around age 30. And I started feeling a little more in control of my life…um, just recently.
Let’s not even talk about my personal life. Hahaha, hoho.
At the same time, all it takes is looking at one of my ideal days under a microscope, and you’ll see my tendency toward slowness right away, and you’ll also understand the permanent frustration I have with the New York lifestyle.
You see, I get up early.
But an ideal day for me would be a day where I have at least an hour to slowly emerge. I want to be able to take my time with my coffee, read a little bit, call my family. Then, if I want to feel really good, I’d need at least as much time to get ready. I’d sing at least three songs in the shower, and so on.
If I wanted to be at my absolute best style and beauty every day, that’s what it would take.
After that, I like walking to the Studio. It’s good for my health and it gives me time to think. But it takes half an hour.
And then I don’t know how you all do it. But for me, if I want to answer all of my emails carefully and get through the beginning of my to-do list, it will take me at least half the day.
Then it’s time for lunch, and I think it’s important to take a break.
The ideal would be at least an hour for lunch, but let’s be realistic, we’re in New York. A half hour is already a lot more than most people can squeeze in.
And if it were just up to me, I’d add some time after work to do a little grocery shopping so I can eat something fresh and healthy, I’d have a drink with a friend, then I’d go home and take my time preparing dinner, listen to a little jazz, read some more…ANYWAY, nothing sensational. It would be a normal day, but I’d take my time doing everything.
Don’t even get me started on weekends – one of my favorite activities is taking the shape of my couch, book in hand, and even having a coffee date planned with a friend seems overwhelming to me.
But that’s not how my weeks go at all. The truth is, I read my email as soon as I wake up, I talk to about 200 people per day, I check my texts in the shower, and there are always lunches, dinners, FOMO, Instagrams, appointments, and a million other things to do, quick, quick, quick, at breakneck speed and, oh yes, let’s not forget the three or four hours (or ten, if you really want to be a true New Yorker) per week of obligatory exercise, right?
At the moment, I don’t do the exercise thing, but I really really want to squeeze it in to my agenda. We hurry to get to the gym, and then we hurry to go to work, and then we hurry to go have fun, and we even hurry to get to bed. Go, go, go.
It’s a crazy life. And I don’t even have kids. I can’t even imagine.
My taste for slowness is constantly and brutally put to the test…on every level.
First of all because it’s not “cool” to like taking things slowly. Slowness is a somewhat shameful luxury.
It’s a lot more respectable these days to say you’ve got too much on your plate instead of saying you’d like to take your time.
But taking your time doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sitting around not doing anything, it might mean taking an extra hour to do things a little better, in a more thoughtful way. Let your ideas ripen, take an extra second to listen to a young intern’s idea…
And also because, apparently, it’s impossible to take your time if you want to succeed.
Recently, I was with a friend who’s a superpower boss for a superpower company, and she asked me: “What do you want in life?” and I simply answered, “To have more free time!” … And she started laughing hysterically, which:
1/ Ok, kind of vexed me a little (I’m a Taurus, I see red pretty fast ;)
2/ Showed me to what extent having time is almost unimaginable.
Because real life these days means multitasking all day long and loving it.
[But for me, multitasking is what’s making me completely crazy. I realized the other day that I had ten conversations open at the same time. Six on Skype with my team, each one on a different, equally important topic. Three over text, one with a friend who was right in the middle of a breakup and I really would have liked to be more present for her, the other with my agent regarding a super urgent decision I needed to make, and another over email with a magazine for an interview, plus comments I wanted to respond to that had been waiting for me blinking in the corner of my screen. When my phone rang, I thought my head might explode into a colorful rainbow, like in Kingsman, a film I saw the other day that wasn’t too bad (which is why I really need to get back to the gym soon to avoid freaking out completely, if you see what I mean)]
Social media eats up an unbelievable amount of our time. Have you ever tried to calculate the time you spend on your favorite social media sites? It’s crazy, right? Yes, it’s crazy.
So right now, I’m trying to think of better solutions for having more time. I want to be able to do things well, and not just skim the surface with a glance and tell myself: “well, that’s done!” (whether it’s on vacation or at work, with my friends or my family)
I’ve always needed time. Time to write, to observe, to discover, to talk, to listen – to do things well… And, of course, to be creative. Creativity isn’t something you can squeeze into your schedule between lunch and a Skype date.
And the worst thing is, I know I’m incredibly lucky to have my own business and my own schedule and a team that helps me enormously.
My Japanese friends work every day from 8am to 8 or 10 at night. Every single day. And they barely have any vacation time. That’s the reality for a lot of people in New York too. I don’t have the right to complain at all – and that’s not what I’m trying to do.
Besides, I have friends who love living life at 1000 miles per hour, with jam-packed schedules and millions of friends only a text away.
But that kind of life race just isn’t my thing. Racing around just makes me feel like I’m missing out on life, and going around in a permanent state of chaos.
I have dreams and ambitions, of course, but I think there’s got to be a way to reconcile the two, without giving anyone a reason to laugh hysterically.
But maybe I’m wrong, maybe it’s just the price we have to pay.
I really wonder what you all think about this.
Because, hey, seeing how things are going so far, if I take time to weigh the pros and cons and reflect, and take everyone else’s opinion into consideration…I’ll probably end up finding a solution in about fifteen years.
Stay tuned, I guess ;)
Translated by Andrea Perdue