Thursday, 31 January 2013

In pursuit of sloth

Never the world's most energetic person I find as time rolls by it is easier and easier to find reasons for not doing something.

This morning, since it is one of my non church days, I had intended to tackle a shrub in the back garden which has become a tree.

Getting up to howling wind and pouring rain I thought first "Oh no, the garden is out of the question today, swiftly, oh so very swiftly, followed by "Yippee, I can have a lazy day".

When I was working for a living (yes there was such a time), the 43 years years spent in so doing were of necessity run by time-tables.  Every minute it seemed was structured by someone else.

On retiring John and I decided we would do what we liked when we liked, and for a little while that worked, but bit by bit we found ourselves creating our own schedules, setting aside time for this or that activity, until in the end it was not that different from paid employment.  Without the obvious advantage.

After his death it was essential that I find something to fill my long long days, and as I've blogged before, the church became my new home.

Initially a sort of survival activity it eventually became a new way of life, except  for one small corner which was to be my " own time."   Originally filled with household tasks but lately filled with long gaps where I snooze, read, spend a little time on face and body repairs, talk for an hour on the phone to my brothers, it has become apparent to me that humans are programmed to 'do things'.

Always filled with guilt when idling in past times, I now deliberately let go of rigid plans which would map out every second of the rest of my life.

Yes of course, there are duties which we must all perform in order to live in reasonably civilised surroundings but my inner sloth is now being actively encouraged, and when our notoriously treacherous climate plays its tricks, like ten days of snow and ice for instance, there is a perfect excuse to do nothing.

My mother used to say of my father's family (the Bowdens), that no Bowden would stand when he could sit, or sit when he could lie, and I am living proof of the truth of that statement.

Oddly, the fewer tasks I perform the more I enjoy the ones I do undertake, and guilt?   Guilt shot off on its broomstick a while ago.  Never to return.


  1. Ray, you are a woman after my own heart! Since I retired I have enjoyed building idleness into my life, as well as activity. I'm always much more idle in winter and bad weather and like you have shed all guilt about it. I gather this unstructured life is known as going with the flow and it suits me down to the ground. :-)

  2. Great isn't it Perpetua? It takes a while (half a life-time) to accept that what doesn't get done will still be there to do another day.
    Prioritising is quite a difficult learning curve, but it is so worth it.

  3. Routine, I live by it. I would be hopeless and lost without a structure. Having said that I do enjoy the occasional aimless day. I do admire you for being able to relax without the hassle of wandering what needs doing.

  4. There's nothing wrong with structure per say Jane, it's just that it can too easily become the be all and end all of existence and the individual becomes swamped.
    We need rules but they should be guide-lines not a cast in tablets of stone, map for life.
    Having said that, it is probably easier for someone with an essentially idle nature to relax the rules.

  5. A wonderful philosophy - I've just had a whole day of doing nothing much, so that I can now go out to Dance Class! Enjoy what each day brings, even if that is a wrapped up in a blanket snooze. Every Blessing Freda from Dalamory (

  6. Thanks Freda. I have done virtually nothing today apart from vacuuming the house. Since the vac has burnt out, I won't be doing that again for a while.
    Choir this evening, despite vast amounts of music for Lent and Easter to be learnt, was very rewarding simply because I had had an idle day.
    Blessings to you too.