Since writing is pretty much what I enjoy doing in my spare time, and since I'm kind of pleased to be able to earn some extra income doing that, it's also very easy for me to get stuck in the "productive use of time" mode of thinking. I do make it a point to do a little socializing regularly, but when I really think about it I realize that I see socializing as a priority and important thing for individuals to do in order to be at least a little more well rounded than just "always writing"/"always working, even in one's spare time".
Something else that's a priority for me is, of course, making sure I have some way of getting exercise. For reasons I won't go into here, I've found that working out at home - and, of course, under the roof that's between me and the sun, and behind the walls that block out Nature's fresh air - works best for me.
So, as it is for so many people these days, my life tends to be full of work, screens, "connectnedness", and whatever activities I can center around one screen or another. Of course, with the workout videos I need a few pieces of workout equipment and sneakers, all of which contribute to kind of leading me to believe I'm not just screen-focused. When all is said and done, however, even the activity involved with fitness videos is pretty much a matter of being focused on a screen regardless of where my moving feet and arms may take me. And, they never take me all that far away from that screen.
So, yesterday I decided to take advantage of a beautiful Fall day and take my eyes, legs, arms and - more importantly - mind out for a walk that would serve no purpose other than to get me out into that fresh air and sunshine, under that amazing blue sky, and among the mix of leaves in different stages of their Fall colors, green grass, and Summer-planted flowers that continue to thrive into October.
My indulgent trip only lasted for a couple of hours, and I vowed to waste pretty much every second of those two hours. Well, every second with the exception of a brief chat with a friendly neighbor; but I justified the time spend on that brief chat by reminding myself that getting out of one's house and/or office and just going out for a walk often does lead to being reminded of how much one appreciates those friendly neighbors.
Never really being one for being aimless, I decided that I'd make the mile-and-a-half walk to the local Dunkin Donuts, where I'd pick up a coffee to bring to the public library, which sits not only on an expanse of attractive grounds, but surrounded by woods that are full of golds, oranges and reds at this time of year. My plan was to take whatever pictures struck my fancy, without regard for whether I could/might use them with something I do online or elsewhere. In other words, my plan was to just enjoy being out in the fresh air and Nature, capture some snippets of beauty and/or solitude just to keep for myself, finish my coffee, and then head into the library which is, in its own way and with what it offers, a part of my own nature.
As I was outside of the library I was feeling very much the way I'd felt as a child, when I'd be out in the yard and loving being outside the building that was home, while also knowing that the second I got bored with what I was doing I could also go into that building and find something/someone who interested me more. It was that feeling that momentarily makes a person feel as if the sky and the trees and warmth of the sun or the coolness of the wind are all there for his/her enjoyment. It was that feeling of solitude and freedom from which we too often become separated and/or outgrown once aiming to be productive and grown-up makes its way into our days.
Sometimes, it seems, we need to be reminded that the phrase, "wasting time", is one which we need to redefine and/or re-think. After all, it's hardly a waste of time to be reminded that we didn't turn into a different person once we took on all the responsibilities of being grown-up; or that the sky and the wind and the sun are still there "just for us", the way they've always been.
All Photos: ME Whelan