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2016, life, Paper Bag Poems, poetry, Uncategorized, writing

Paper Bag Poems #12

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2016, life, Paper Bag Poems, poetry, Uncategorized, writing

Paper Bag Poems #8

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Slow Down: A PSA in the Society of Rushing

We can never get enough.

From the moment the shrill shriek of an alarm clock cuts through our dreams to the second our head hits the pillow at the end of the day, we are all fighting for it. It being a spare hour, a sneaky minute, a stolen second.

You wake up with your To-Do List plastered to the back of your eyelids.

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out

You consider your job –

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out
  • Finish the presentation for Monday
  • Organise the office Secret Santa

Your study –

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out
  • Finish the presentation for Monday
  • Organise the office Secret Santa
  • Return library books
  • Finish reading Chapter Nine for Ancient History

Your hobbies –

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out
  • Finish the presentation for Monday
  • Organise the office Secret Santa
  • Return library books
  • Finish reading Chapter Nine for Ancient History
  • Learn the new piece for the gig on Sunday
  • Finish the painting for the gallery opening

And all that self-care stuff the internet thinks you need –

  • Feed the cat
  • Take the bins out
  • Finish the presentation for Monday
  • Organise the office Secret Santa
  • Return library books
  • Finish reading Chapter Nine for Ancient History
  • Learn the new piece for the gig on Sunday
  • Finish the painting for the gallery opening
  • Meditate for 10 minutes
  • Take a nap
  • Get some exercise

And eventually your brain is just full.

Too many things on your plate. Too few hours in the day.

You rush through your tasks, squeezing everything you can out of every last second; your thoughts are a mess of static and your body is moving in a frenzy. Getting things done, making the most of the minutes – this, you think, is living.

But consider this.

Your life isn’t measured in things ticked off in one hour. Your life isn’t measured in minutes – its measured in moments. It’s measured in memories.

It shouldn’t matter how busy you are – make time for making memories. They’re what will be left with you in 50 years when the work presentation couldn’t matter less. Make time for yourself and others. Do some good.

The next person you see – give them a smile. A proper, I-can-see-you-how-are-you-today-smile.

Buy someone some flowers, just because. Pick them some flowers if you’re poor.

Blow some bubbles.

Speak to a baby.

Offer to help someone else, be it opening a door, carrying books, or spotting them $2 if they’re short at the checkout.

Life’s too short to be moving so fast. It often feels like with our limited days on the planet that we must squeeze every last activity and task into the precious few moments we have – but really we need to squeeze every last memory from our moments. Another smile with a loved one. Another sunset. Another breath of fresh air. Make the moments count, not because they were full of things you got done but because they were things you did well, with laughter and joy and learning.

And when next striving to fill every moment with doing, know that you don’t have to stop; you just have to slow down. Smell the roses. Live your life. Make some memories.

You won’t regret it.

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Why I Love Bookshops

There is something about bookshops that I’ve always loved. I remember going into them as a kid and finding the perfect book to read, sitting down on the floor and getting stuck in. My mum would always say, “Stop it, this isn’t a library.” And I knew that it wasn’t, because bookshops were always somehow better. 

Here’s the thing: I’ve had a casual job in a small local bookshop  for over a year now, and looking at all the books I spent countless hours stacking, dusting, moving, rearranging, alphabetizing and tidying, I see a room of old friends.

So I went into the shop today, and the thing is, it was the last time I’ll ever get to. The shop is closing, and when I went in, there were only a few books left for sale. They were all stacked on this table right in the middle of the shop, these three rows of books that was all that remained of over a year of memories. And the thing was, I recognised almost all the books that were there, but I hadn’t read a single one of them.

Isn’t that sad? All these books, in their different covers, colours, designs and fonts, brought back so many good memories of a great job, but I didn’t know any more about them than where they belonged on the shelf. I would’ve loved so much to have gotten more time to be able to not just know the books by where they needed to be put, but by the stories they told and the way they made me feel. That’s really what I wanted, after all: to spend time being immersed in the creations of people’s minds; their opinions, hopes, dreams, fears and Crazy Lands just like my own.

I feel really, really sad about losing the job. There were so many amazing times: reading Peppa Pig to a five-year-old cutie; finding books for ten-year-old girls that were secretly the books I had loved to read at their age; spending approximately five hours every week surrounded by good reads and great readers. I’m devastated to not be able to have that anymore. But in a way, I feel like it’s a good thing. Maybe I’ll be able to walk into a bookshop now without compulsively straightening the shelves. Maybe I’ll be able to sit on the floor and read, instead of finding the vacuum to clean it. I can hear my mum now: “It’s not a library!”

Until next time,

Xx Loony

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