One thing I have tried to reflect on while here in Spain is my obsession with time. As evidenced by not one but two previous posts about Countdown Syndrome, I still need to mark time over the long term. I am a planner at heart (ENFP), but I’m learning. I can go to the park on a Sunday afternoon without a watch. This is huge. I can stay up and talk to friends and go to bed when I’m tired, whether it’s 1am or 5am. This is also a big deal if you know me, and know how much I like my sleep.
There are many foreigners here trying to keep pace with the Spanish schedule. I am not one of them. Ok, I will eat lunch at 2 pm and start making dinner around 10 pm but that’s where I draw the line. I really don’t need to be out until absurd hours of the morning. I prefer to sleep like the dead and then wake up and make the most out of morning, taking advantage of the siesta later in the day. I will also eat whenever the hell I feel like eating, but that’s a post for another day.
This idea of leisure time is startling: la cultura del ocio or the leisure culture. Since there is no such thing as free time in the U S of A, it’s no wonder that I’m shocked by the whole concept. At home it seems like there is always something to be done, somewhere to be and some great sense of urgency. Just last night we were out walking in a big group and as usual the tall Northeasterners pull out in front.
“Es que … tenemos prisa. Somos del noreste” my roommate says (We’re in a hurry, we’re from the Northeast).
Our friend Sam (a West coast native) wants to know why that is. ¡Relajate! (relax). What IS the big rush? The truth is I have no idea. Is it the old Fear of Missing Something Good? or a little bit of Keeping Up With the Joneses? I like to call it Social Guilt, a blend of both of these. It’s when you can’t leave your phone at home, multitask just to survive and it takes a serious breakdown for you to go off the grid. But at the end of the day… does it really matter?
“¡Cállate, rubia!” – Spain says – “Go to the park and leave your watch at home.“