I used to travel by train
From this station.
Then life changed.
I was made redundant.
And my boss tried to pretend he was sorry;
And I said, “Thank you.”
He seemed to have difficulty believing
That he was doing me a favour;
Making my life easier.
He couldn’t grasp
That he was helping me to fulfil
A long-term ambition,
A personal goal.
So I said, “Thank you.”
And he couldn’t believe it.
And, now, I live the life I’ve planned
For such a long time;
While he has to get up every morning
And commute to a job he’s done all his life,
Even though he no longer enjoys it.
And I travel by train
Past the same station
To a life of fulfillment
That benefits other people
And leaves me with
A sense of accomplishment
And I look at all the people
To their dream jobs.
(So why do they all look miserable?)
And I think to myself,
“It’s the clutter;
“They don’t have time to enjoy life.”
A simple eye.
An attitude of mind.
When I was at school, we learned that by the year 2000 we would all have much more free time on our hands. Advances in science would mean that robots would do most of the work, leaving you and me to enjoy a life of leisure.
We all need other people. We are designed for companionship. We thrive when we are in good company, especially in times of trial or adversity. In fact, that’s when we need each other most.
Yet we also need time on our own. We need time to contemplate the things that affect our lives and the lives of those we care about, no matter where they might live and no matter whether we know them personally or not.
That’s why we need personal time. We need to be alone, sometimes, just to be able to make sense of life. We could say we need time to breathe; to refresh ourselves; to clear everyone else’s clutter from our minds so that we can get on with dealing with our own issues.
So what do we mean by “time alone”? It can mean different things in different circumstances. Sometimes we may want to just kick off our shoes, stretch out on the sofa, close our eyes, and listen to our favourite music. But there is so much benefit in simply enjoying silence. Our lives are so full of noise, these days, and we need to switch off from it so that we can hear those things that really matter.
One word of caution, though. We must not isolate ourselves. As the opening paragraph says, we need other people around us. Isolating ourselves too much can lead to selfish thinking and actually cause more problems than it solves.
One good suggestion is to take yourself out for a meal. Go to a nice restaurant on your own and eat a meal on your own. It’s a fantastic experience. And you will still have other people around you. You may even have better service!
Still, look for opportunities to have some time alone each week or, preferably, each day. Give yourself a break. Life will be so much easier to deal with when you start looking after yourself. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to deal with anything.
Children now grown up.
Mindful of the time we spent
I just love the emotions involved in this photo. It’s so full of memories, happy and sad. It’s a reminder that children don’t stay young, forever.
Originally, I titled this photo, Neglect. But I now like to think of it as Loneliness because it tells a story of having been a best friend, now abandoned in favour of more important interests.
Well. Almost abandoned. The spiders found a good home there! And the contrast between the spiders’ webs and the man-made netting is a treat.
Enjoy your children while you can. Treasure the time that you have with them. There will be plenty of time for your career once they leave home. At least, there’ll be a little time until the grandchildren come along.
And then you can re-live those days all over again.