Saturday, 13 July 2013

Diary of the most efficient man in the world: sun, solitude, solid results.

After my foray into the Saturday Night Writes #writeclub, I've overslept. Sleeping is not an efficient use of time. At least it's Saturday, and I've got a day off work. In addition to this, my wife's away visiting her folks, and you know what they say: while the cat's away, the mice can achieve tangible results and sit in front of the computer all day in their pants if they want to. But it's a Saturday, surely I should meet some friends and enjoy the sunshine?

I'm enjoying Neil Ansell's Deep Country which talks a lot about solitude. Neil writes about nature the way that only a person who has lived in it as a patient observer really can. He spent five years more or less alone in a cottage in the Welsh hills. On the subject of solitude, he writes:

"This was the pattern of my days, a simple life led by natural rhythms rather than the requirements and expectations of others. Imagine being given the opportunity to take time out of your life, for five whole years. Free of social obligations, free of work commitments. Think how well you would get to know yourself, all that time to consider your past and the choices you had made, to focus on your personal development, to know yourself through and through, to work out your goals in life, your true ambitions.
    None of this happened, not to me. Perhaps for someone else it would have been different. Any insight I have gained has been the result of later reflection. Solitude did not breed introspection, quite the reverse. My days were spent outside, immersed in nature..."

I'm going to take two lessons from this bit of the book for today.
1) Perhaps deciding to be on your own for a day isn't totally weird. If Neil Ansell is allowed to do it, then so am I. I'll spend the day working on my goals and ambitions (Neil would probably not approve), and I won't seek out the company of anybody else. It'll be a social experiment. Well, an anti-social experiment.

2) Perhaps if you've decided to be on your own for a day, you should immerse yourself in nature to prevent yourself going crazy. Neil didn't spend five years on his own inside the cottage in his pants in front of a computer. Nobody should do that, not even for a day, not even if they've set themselves impossible goals which would be best achieved sitting indoors.

A compromise then: I'll spend the day enjoying this glut of good weather we've been blessed with. Plenty on my list I can do outside. Have a great sunny Saturday everyone!

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