I’m writing this diary the next day, which I guess is a little against the rules. Or is it? It’s helpful to see what I can remember of the day, what stuck. The evening bus to Rabat and dinner in Mdina is definitely a lot more vibrant in my memory than the morning working from home, calmly and without any rush responding to requests, planning for jobs that are coming up soon and doing some social media work I had pending. There’s something about this slower period that screams ‘in between’ as my mind is used to things being a lot more hectic or to panicking so much when things are quieter that I end up being more stressed that when things are busy. Not this time though. I am now taking my time and getting through things at a nice, calm, dare-I-say reasonable pace. And I like it.
A day working on my own terms. I woke up at around 8:20 (I slept late and needed the beauty sleep), did some yoga, made a rather elaborate breakfast of French toast, muesli and fruit smoothie. My brain was chattering about starting work right away instead of doing yoga etc but I stuck with the programme and it felt good to.
I did some work, went to the post office, dis some more work, cooked, ate, discussed a job we’re working together on with Johannes. At around 5pm, a friend said he was going for a walk to the bridge and I made it a communal walk, stopping work for the day.
This week my brain is creating long to do lists of things that I put to the side over the last few months. Site update, writing about things I’ve been involved with, slower and volunteer work that I’ve not had time to do. For some reason it feels like I should be finishing it all this week while things really quiet but I’m also very much aware that I need the slower pace for my own sanity.
In the evening we had Portuguese João over for dinner. We cooked together, made a million bad jokes and generally enjoyed each other’ a company before João jets back to Lisbon tomorrow. It was absolutely wonderful to remember that life is about more than just crossing out my to do list. My brain still (often) chatters about all that’s left to do and worries about what’s next but it seems that I’m finally learning to make the most of the slow days to enjoy that which I’m too busy to do in the hectic periods.
I’m on St Barbara Bastion, lying down, full after my three cities view Margherita. As I was eating I wondered whether the knight who lives at St Angelo ever does the same on the opposite side of the harbour. It’s nice to imagine a knight eating pizza on the bastion. Does he have an email address?
Knight thoughts aside, today was a mix of slow and fast. Wake up at Bahrija, morning meditation, mini breakfast and a drive to Gnejna where I had a little swim. There was a guy sitting inside one of the boat houses there, very close to where I was swimming and I found myself thinking about public and private space, ownership and humans’ apparent need to mark their territory and reign upon it. Before I left Bahrija I read a few bits of Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth which also talks a lot about ownership eventually becoming a thing of the past as humanity realises that shared resources work much better for everyone. We’ve moved in that direction without a doubt but there is still quite a way to go there.
After lunch with the parentals I returned home with a head full of things that needed doing. I finished my Vat, tax and ssc payments (yay for me, not so yay for my bank account), sent in my final edits for Streets of Valletta and did some Homo Melitensis social media work. On that front, I was incredibly happy to read that the Malta Pavilion was named one of the 5 top ones to see by the Guardian art journalist. Given the incredibly minimal budget that the curators had to make this happen, this is absolutely no mean feat. I’m extremely proud to be a small part of this and hope to be able to bring out as much as possible of the Homo Melitensis flavour in social media over the coming months.
It’s now 10:07 pm and around half of my mind is still active with its long to do list. The rest will take me home to a cup of tea and some light reading in bed with the hope that the first half is also absorbed into it and eventually lulled to sleep.
Photo: I took this on my way home tonight. What a relief it is to see signs of living breathing humans with a sense of humour in this commerce-run capital! Go Kane Cali!
Finally in bed. Somewhat sniffly and on the edges of a grump. It’s one of those moments when I’m walking the thin line between feeling somewhat miserable and deciding that actually things are really and truly totally ok.
My body is complaining. I’ve been doing too much over the past few weeks and my immune system has suffered the consequences. I’m hoping that tea and a decent sleep will sort me out.
I’m working pretty much flat out on the exhibition this week ( with a few gaps here and there when I’ve fitted in other things). Although we loosely agreed on a fee for my work, the actual sum depends on how much the other exhibition things cost since it all comes out of one fixed budget. There are times when the possibility of getting paid a pittance flashes in my head and at times like these I really need to have my priorities clear. Do I want to do this job even though I might possibly not get paid? Does it feel important to me? Am I taking care of myself? Does this feel good? My answers immediately tell me I’m on the right track and I trust that there will be enough. Some jobs are about balancing my finances, some jobs feel necessary. This is one of them. I have no idea what exactly I’m taking and what exactly I’m giving, just that an important exchange is going on. I’m grateful to be part of it.
Success factor of the day, writing my diary at 19:14. It feels strange to be honest. And also some kind of slow return to normality (I hope). The last month and a half have been a whirlwind of busy the kind I have not had in a few years and I’m really hoping that I can settle to something a little looser and softer for the coming months.
I am honestly really loving my work at the moment. I’m combining corporate work with art & culture work that together pay decently (unfortunately the gap between how the two pay is still huge) and provide a good mix of inspiration, perspiration, creativity and variety. Tonight, for the first time in weeks, I’ve actually eyed a few things happening around me and feel free and energetic enough to actually go out rather than work until I practically fall asleep.
A section of my mind is still panicking about things that need doing but I’m also seeing that with a little more breathing space around my fixed work times, things are indeed getting done. This morning I started nice and early with Venice Biennale social media fun (I finally got into the swing of things and started enjoying myself), some rather random sourcing and collecting of things for the Biennale exhibition, an afternoon at Corinthia, further picking up of things for the exhibition, correspondence about some website work that’s close to finished and a quick visit to my Art blog that has sadly been abandoned for over a month. It’s time to get that back on track.
I really love the vibe of morning yoga and some nice and early working on things that need creativity, thought and a calm state of mind. This really works for me. I’m hoping that with a slightly lower workload I can start to catch up on what needs doing and eventually be able to limit my working hours to something that allows me to tip the balance a little more towards life rather than work. Not that the two are so clearly divided for me since the work I do is an increasingly clearer reflection of who I am. You know what I mean though.