My husband died eighteen months ago, and lately I have found myself listening to audio books. They keep me company while I’m cooking, something Umberto usually did. And when I clean up. I listen to them while I’m showering and getting dressed, when we usually talked and felt the closeness of shared space. My new car has a nifty Bluetooth connection to Audible that makes listening fun and easy. Once I turn on the car, the story I was listening to in the kitchen comes on automatically!
It’s easy to get accustomed to listening to a book. From an early age, my grandmother read to me from books with no pictures. That experience allowed me to create pictures in my own imagination, something I love doing today when I’m working and playing. Listening to books is entertaining and distracting!
And this is both a gift and a liability.
Yesterday, as I finished my most current book, I realized I had unintentionally robbed myself of gestation time. Gestate, according to Merriam Webster is to: conceive and gradually develop in the mind. Gestation occurs when we are thinking about nothing in particular, leaving space for unrelated ideas to bounce around in our minds, making unlikely connections, shifting perspective, and letting knotty problems unknot.
No wonder I had been putting off working on a proposal that required a creative approach to helping a company shift gears, or that my weekly blogs (which usually come from random thoughts and connections) had seemed like more of a struggle.
I had wondered why I was procrastinating doing things that usually came easy for me, and I’d wondered if I was “losing it,” getting lazy? Or was it perhaps something even more pernicious?
Really, it was that my creativity depends on having time and space for gestation. Filling every moment with an audio book had robbed me of that. This had made all my tasks harder and led to procrastination.
If you find yourself putting off intellectual or creative tasks you normally enjoy, make sure you haven’t let too much of the oh-so-many worthwhile, enlightening, educational, and entertaining activities interfere with your gestation time.
Gestation time can be in the shower, on a walk, or just sitting on the porch, looking at the sky. Gestation occurs during the unstructured time that many of us in our 24/7 world feel guilty about. The paradox is that gestation is an essential part of our creative and intellectual lives.
What are you doing to recapture or maintain YOUR gestation time?
Until next Tuesday,