Mariana Machado
3 min readFeb 1, 2024

In Portuguese, we use the word tempo for time but also for the weather. Not surprisingly, I’ve been thinking a lot about tempo in January.

Time was never a concern of mine… until recently.
A couple of years ago I didn’t care about what age I was, where I should be or what month it was. Then, I don’t know why, those began weighing on me. I pretty much went crazy for a while prior to turning 30 and since then, my age has been something I think about quite a lot. (I’m working on changing that, bear with me). As for the weather, I’ve always preferred the Summer time but it didn’t really affect me much. However, now I can’t stand the cold and rain.

Let me start by saying that January has 10 weeks and no one can convince me otherwise. The New Year seems to have been ages ago. I’ve been to Angola and South Africa for a while and since I came back to Portugal, I already went to Lisbon and spent what seemed like a lifetime in Braga. The days are long, the weeks never-ending and time just doesn’t go by when looking at the big picture.
At the same time, work has been crazy busy. There aren’t enough hours in a day for me to complete all my tasks and they just keep piling up. Between calls, approvals and doing my own tasks, time just goes by too fast and when I notice, it’s nighttime.

So, when it comes to this type of tempo, this month has been a constant struggle between not having enough time and time going by too slowly. This makes me think — why am I so bothered about it still being January? Why do I want time to go by faster if I don’t really like ageing? And why can’t I seem to manage my time this month if I’ve been doing this for years? I don’t have an answer.

Now, when it comes to the other type of tempo, I’ve noticed how my mood is so affected by the weather. As I mentioned, I spent the first weeks of 2024 in Africa where the sun was shining every day. I woke up everyday in the best mood, ready to tackle work and embrace all the challenges thrown at me. I felt happy, motivated, invincible.
Then, I came home. Despite being the happiest I’ve been in a long time, I still found myself oscillating moods according to the weather.

When it’s raining, I can’t cope. Time is a pain. I feel lost, sleepy and lacking energy. I actually realised I can’t think creatively when it’s raining, so I use those days for strategic and operational tasks at work, and afterwards I just rot away on the couch watching meaningless series. When the sun is shining and it’s bom tempo, my creativity grows. I feel like I can tackle 100 tasks at once. I cook, I feel like cleaning out my wardrobe and there’s time for me to accomplish everything I want.

Again, the different tempos intertwine.

Today is February 1st, the sun is shining and I’m back to writing spontaneously. I guess tempo will tell if I’m feeling creative because the month has changed, because it’s a sunny day or just because I am.



Mariana Machado

I used to dream about becoming a poet and I’ve always loved writing, so I made it my job.