When I lived in Pittsburgh, my boss Bill always made me a morning espresso.
It was an entire process. Grind the beans, level off the portafilter, wait for the espresso to pour. And even though he was my boss and I the employee, he always served me (with a dollop of coconut cream, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it).
Bill and my co-boss (co-boss?) Hayley never rushed…anything. They started work around 10 a.m. They always made breakfast from scratch, usually serving sausage, roasted veggies, and fried eggs. In their work, they would carve out an entire afternoon to get the perfect shot for a cookbook cover, sometimes topping 70 takes.
They weren’t perfectionists. They weren’t slow. Neither of those words fit what I’m searching to write because one sparks anxiety and the other implies they don’t have their shit together. That’s not how they conduct their lives.
They simply take their time.
Somewhere around the two years I worked for them I read an article about redefining luxury (I searched for it and came up from Google empty, otherwise I’d share). It made the argument that luxurious items, or things of value, once included fancy rugs, jewelry, diamonds, fast cars—things no one else seemed to have. Things no one else could afford.
But today, the most luxurious item on Earth—the one thing no one seems to have—is time.
By the article’s definition, taking the time to make a homemade espresso is luxurious
Because who does that? Who has the time?
Bill and Hayley ruined me, of course. Four years later in a marketing agency in Washington, DC, I became known for making coffee. We had an office Keurig I positively hated: The coffee was never strong enough, the mug never hot enough, and yes I gave my Dad a Keurig for Christmas but I still think the coffee comes with a slight taste of plastic.
We only made a pot of coffee when clients came. And when I asked a coworker why we couldn’t have “real coffee” every day, the simple answer was, “No one wants to take the time to make it.”
There are so many things we think we don’t have time to do
We don’t have time for a morning walk. We don’t have time to lay down and stretch after a workout. We don’t have time for anything but a reheated lunch and a coffee poured from a Keurig.
But you do have time this week.
I know you’re trapped inside and I know you would rather be physically set on fire than slow down, but do you understand what a blessing this is? In an age where we constantly rush and always feel behind, for once the world came to a crashing halt.
No one is getting ahead of you this week. Everything is closed. Your clients have their own shit to worry about. If Ellen DeGeneres has the time to put together a 4,000-piece puzzle you have the time to read a novel rather than skim the headlines, take a bath instead of a shower, or pour a fucking French press instead of hitting a button on a Keurig. The only person who had the slightest chance of getting ahead this week was that guy who stockpiled all that Purell from Amazon, and even he fucked himself over.
In a world where we chase fame, money, and promotions, this week you gained the most valuable thing on Earth
If you feel bored or frustrated you can’t work this week, here’s a mind fuck to try: Shouldn’t that feel good?
I can’t count the number of times my subconscious said, “I wish the world would just stop for 24 hours so I could catch up.” I honestly think there’s a masochistic part of me that actually enjoys being hungover, because it’s the one and only time I don’t feel compelled to do anything. I can lay in bed and watch the Taylor Swift documentary and order takeout without a shred of guilt, pretending the world doesn’t exist.
The economy may be tanking, but you literally gained the most valuable thing on Earth this week: time. And you will regret it if you don’t take advantage, because this will never happen again in our lifetime.
There’s no commute to take, errands to run, or fitness classes to schedule. While the question, “What would you do with an extra hour in your day” might be fun for an interview or first date, it just became your reality. Figure out how you want to spend it.
Whether by pure caffeine addiction or just because Bill and Hayley taught me better, coffee—the thing that usually speeds us up—is the one thing that slows me down. Because as high-strung a person as I am, luxury means taking the time to never drink a shitty cup of coffee.
And from what I’m hearing, you have until the end of March to come up with your own definition.