I do this thing when I'm packing for a trip--a trip for any amount of days--where my goal is to have extra space in my suitcase. Packing is eminently stressful for me. I need just the right items, the perfect mix of weather-and-comfort versatility. But I also care about what I will look like when I'm in x-locale [and you know this bish wants to look her best] so I can't, cannot, just follow the "comfy jeans with comfy shirt" formula. And then there are the shoes, sweet Lord, the shoes. All of which is to say: I put a lot--too much--thought into what to bring, and I have a pretty firm idea of what will be worn with what, BUT I am also at heart a minimalist, so although I believe the word "curate" is overused, it's accurate to say that I curate my suitcase, bringing only what I know I will wear, and (usually) wearing each item as planned. BUT. This is only half of my packing battle. The other half is ensuring that my suitcase has a good layer of free space. Not because I'm planning on filling it with anything once I'm at my destination. Just to have it. You know those sitcom moments where the girl hurls herself atop her suitcase, pressing down on it with her body in order to zip it? (Or worse, when the "goofball" boyfriend does it for her?) That whole thing gives me massive anxiety. Like, NO. You cannot pack every article of clothing that's in your closet! You gotta curate, girl! You have to sit quietly, clear your mind, and picture yourself walking down the street in Portland, Oregon or having burgers in Hilton Head, SC or standing in front of a conference room in Boca Raton, FL. You have to be specific and brutal with your vision and with your known comforts (100% cotton) and discomforts (those shoes you love that murder your feet after 4 minutes). It's an editing process, and editing my written work gives me the same neuroses/thrills. There is something very psychologically and aesthetically pleasing to me about s p a c e, about not being hemmed in around the edges, about breathability, about lightness. I don't want to wrestle with an unwieldy suitcase that contains a sweater I haven't worn since 2004 and I don't want to stumble around in paragraphs that don't, ahem, fit, anymore.
Which isn't to say that I don't love dense writing. When the writing is transcendent, the density becomes immaterial, light.
I do this same thing with time. Instead of hoarding empty space, I attempt to hoard time. Sometimes it seems my entire day, week, existence, is built around saving time, making time, so that I can simply just have it. Nothing brings me more pleasure than The Blank Hour. Since having kids, The Blank Hour has become even more of a unicorn--which makes trapping it all the more satisfying. I have woken up at 4:30am for The Blank Hour. I have gotten high on caffeine and done two days of work in 4 hours in order to conjure The Blank Hour. I have said no to more money, in order to have more time. There is no commodity more precious to me, and it requires a daily, constant vigilance--what do I say no to? (A lot.) What do I say yes to? The things--c'mon, you saw this coming--in my very light suitcase.