Anticipation is actually one of the gifts of my personality type–I love the days before an awesome thing often as much as I love the thing. But it really works against me in seasons like this. Where I feel the time, the days, the experience, slipping through my fingers. Time moves fast sometimes. I’m feeling that here. I cannot slow time. But I can savor the minutes, days, weeks, months I have here. I’m trying.
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I’m getting very good as shleping things. What I would pay if y’all could have seen me last weekend. I decided I needed throw pillows on my couch and a little blanket for the living room.
I hadn’t purchased them before because I kept talking myself out of it. Only being here in New York City for two months and all, it just kept being a NO for me. But then, when I was on the road that weekend, speaking in Charlotte, North Carolina, people would ask me how New York was, and I answered every time, “well, I absolutely love it… the only problem really is that my couch isn’t comfortable or cozy.”
THAT is my only problem? THEN FIX IT, DOWNS. Dang.
So I went to HomeGoods on Sunday and all my cozy purchases ended up filling up three big paper bags, the kind you get from a department store.
(If you are new to this podcast or this series, hi I’m Annie. I usually live in Nashville, but until December, I’m living in New York City. This is the fifth episode in this series AFD in NYC. The first four are linked in the show notes below.)
So I had one bag hanging on one arm, another on the other, and the third one, well, I had to hold it in the middle, squeezing it like the pillow that it was, because one of the bag’s handles ripped. I had my backpack on as well. I was a SIGHT, you guys. An absolute sight.
I shlepped again last week. I walked down the street to my local grocery store because I ran out of apples. They were having a 5 for 5 sale on greek yogurt so suddenly my apple trip turned into a grocery trip. I finally remembered to grab a case of La Croix as I was heading to the check out and so there I was again, bag of groceries in one arm, case of La Croix in the other hand, and I shelped home.
As I started to unload the cans of La Croix into the fridge, I was lining them up in groups of four… twelve cans total. And I said to myself, “oh my gosh, that’s two weeks. Then I’ll be halfway through my time here in New York.”
I’ve been making some plans for November- which makes PERFECT sense because people have to schedule things and you have to buy tickets in advance for things!- but at the same time, it feels like I am running out of days already. I haven’t drank a single can of La Croix and I’m already mourning that I’m three cases from leaving.
A few years ago, here in New York City, on a Monday, my friend Mary Kate and I got tattoos together. She got a cute heart, I got the words “SAVOR THIS” on my forearm. Because this challenge, to live in TODAY, chases me. I’m forever counting down to the next thing. Anticipation is actually one of the gifts of my personality type- I love the days before an awesome thing often as much as I love the thing.
But it really works against me in seasons like this. Where I feel the time, the days, the experience, slipping through my fingers like smoke or sand I can’t hold on to, or like a podcast I’m listening to at 2 times speed.
It feels like a nervous stomach, like I kind of can’t catch my breath. When I start counting down the days until I leave here, start ticking off experiences I’ve been excited to have- like the Lady A show last Thursday or watching the New York City marathon this weekend, things that have been on my calendar for months- I can almost start to panic.
It’s like the more I think about it, the more I talk about it and write about it, the more I feel it.
I am just loving it so much here. I love church, I love my friends here, I love my apartment (now that it has appropriate throw pillows), I love the subway- I am reading SO MANY BOOKS as I commute underground, I love LOVE not having to drive anywhere (I find driving very boring), I love the Broadway shows and the restaurants. I love walking everywhere and I love my neighborhood and I love bumping into friends at Central Park. It happened Saturday and it was THE BEST.
It isn’t perfect here, but it’s great. It’s also not reality, right? I mean, it’s not MY reality. I’ve been saving money for ten months to live here, it would be different if I had to do this life 12 months a year, not just two. I left almost all my problems in Nashville, that’s not reality. I also left most of my stuff. So I know, in some ways, this is like an extended vacation. In some ways, it is my life- I’m working every work day and working hard, I’m still traveling to speak, I’m in hard meetings and having hard conversations. I’m still doing chores and working out and all the things I do in my life at home. But, this isn’t MY LIFE. This isn’t my HOME.
So telling myself THAT truth helps. Yes, of course this feels like it’s slipping away, just like summer camp and just like vacation.
Yes, time ticks. That is the nature of time.
This is not something to fear. This is reality. This feeling like the days are passing? It is real. The solution, for me and my brain, on days like this- when I start to panic about life slipping through my fingers- is not to try platitudes and slogans about how long life could be or how God is gonna handle it all. The solution is the truth.
Time moves fast sometimes. I’m feeling that here.
So. Look down at your arm, Annie. SAVOR THIS. Don’t fear, don’t grip. Savor. You may get to do this again someday, but you may not. So savor it.
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And then there are days like Sunday.
I forgot to charge my apple watch Saturday night, so by mid-day Sunday, once I got home from church and started doing those Sunday chores that we all have, my watch died. So I plugged it in.
Some friends and I had planned to meet up at the New York Historical Society Museum and Library, which ended up being very providential because it cried rain drops all day here. Not sobs, not showers, just crying level rain. So being inside was a win. I left my watch at home, charging, and headed up.
They had multiple exhibits that we were excited to see, and we were not disappointed. As I bought my ticket, the woman behind the counter asked if I wanted a paper map or to scan the QR code. I requested the map. I wanted to keep my phone out of my hand as much as possible.
We roamed slowly, reading everything I could get my eyes on (truly one of my fatal flaws is I want to read every last bit of signage at museums). I was with a very close friend and two new friends, so we also did the get to know you conversations as we went from room to room of the museum.
Afterwards, no one really had anywhere to be, so we walked a few blocks to Billy’s Bakery. I got a cookie sandwich made of chocolate chip cookies and vanilla icing. We split it and sat around the table and talked for hours, about twitter and theater and writing and sex and the enneagram and technology and church and war and I never once looked at my watch. Because it was all the way back at my house.
The afternoon went fast and yet, also incredibly slow.
And in fact, looking back on the last week, it feels like I shlepped those throw pillows a month ago. It’s been 10 days.
Savoring this. Being all the way in the conversation I am in. Being all the way in the city I am in. Being all the way in the friendships I am in. Holding tightly and holding loosely. Letting this be my life but remembering it isn’t REALLY my life. Hoping time moves slowly, being grateful when it does, worrying less, looking at my watch less, savoring more. Sitting longer, staying longer, listening longer, walking slower.
I cannot slow time. But I can savor the minutes, days, weeks, months I have here. I’m trying.
What do you think? Please come share some thoughts and wisdom with me over on instagram- @thatsoundsfunpodcast … I’d love to hear if you feel this ever too? What do you do? I would love to learn from you if you have thoughts on this. And I’ll see you tomorrow here on That Sounds Fun.
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NYTimes bestselling Christian author, speaker, and host of the That Sounds Fun Podcast, Annie F. Downs shares with you some of her favorite things: new books, faith conversations, entertainers not to miss, and interviews with friends.
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