These days, I’ve been thinking about time. How it is non-linear. How it never feels like I have enough of it. How I wish it would slow down. How it is so damn fleeting.
In the context of the hustle, that not-quite-side-gig-that-regularly-takes-up-too-much-time gig, time is the ultimate currency. Think about it. When was the last time you wished for just a few more hours in the day? I recently told a friend I could use an entire extra day in the week. All this to say that I am typically a very exhausted hustler.
I think it’s important to talk about time and exhaustion because they often feel like two elephants in the room. As artist and creatives (especially those of us who live in metropolitan areas where the hustle is packaged and sold back to us as a prerequisite for residency), the myth is that we are constantly making, constantly producing and eating healthy and having robust social lives and reading the latest bestseller and…, and…, and. “I’m doing amazing,” we say when we’re asked about our week at that opening. We juggle the conference calls in the morning before taking the train to our full-time jobs. We give up a day of rest to be on location for that assignment we absolutely have to take.
Under these circumstances, my love-hustle wears me out. And I think I need to say that aloud.
I don’t say this to elicit pity or concern. I am leaning heavily on friends and mentors to help me re-prioritize projects, delegate task, and most importantly, in the words of the great Maxine Waters, reclaim my time. How can be engaged in the soul rejuvenating act of making art if we are constantly running on empty? The reality is, we cannot. If this past year has taught me anything, it has taught me that periods of doing nothing is quite simply good for my love hustle. Another way of saying this might be deliberate meandering. Allowing myself to rest without an agenda. To sit in quietude. To practice a purposeful absence that refuels me when I’m running low on energy.
How do our passions thrive in the context of wellness? How can we remind one another that our love hustles should not undo us? I am writing this note to encourage a new relationship to “the grind” one that is rooted in a kind of slowness that invites us to be gentle to ourselves even as we juggle millions of deadlines and responsibilities. I am writing this note to remind myself that if I am not well, neither is my work.
Jessica Lynne is a critic and arts administrator living in Brooklyn.