Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Thoreau said he liked to have a "broad margin" in his life. By this he meant he liked to have time and space outside of and beyond the daily necessities of his life. 

I have always cherished such a margin. But there have been too many times in my life when I didn't have such a luxury: too many years when there was not only no margin, but a seemingly never-ending calendar of stress and hurry and even confrontation.

No more. I do not take for granted the luxurious margin I now enjoy. I savor it. And I also try to be worthy of it on a day to day basis, whether or not I have "earned" it. Margins are one thing; loafing is another. I try not to loaf. Well, OK— sometimes I loaf. But I still maintain a kind of work ethic. Maybe force of habit, or maybe a sense of obligation— which may or may not be delusional.

Modern American life does not seem to have much room for broad margins in our lives. Even kids seem to have lost that capacity, what with orthodontist's visits, band practice, soccer, church camp, etc., "being a kid" seems to have devolved into having your own appointment book. It's a shame that the idle creativity and aimless fun of childhood has morphed into the lives of little executives.

I've always liked the old saying, "Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits."


Anonymous said...

Seems like the harder a person tries to find some tranquility, the more elusive it becomes. I firmly believe that until you don't have to work, and therefore don't have to mix with people you might prefer not to mix with,you'll never find it.

Brigid said...

I'm what I have termed myself "a gregarious loner". I like to converse with folks online and on the phone on ocassion about various philosophies or simply our day to day lives. Most of these folks I get together with once a month or so for meals and laughter. Of course we meet up at the range for shooting, but mostly, outside of work, I prefer to be alone, reading, building something, or working outdoors. If you put me in a fancy party dress and set me up in a gathering in the city I look to bolt out the door, like a frightened mare.

I'm happier this way.

Anonymous said...

A balance, a cushion of privacy, space to do one's own thinking, one's own work.

I don't think of endeavoring to live this way as a luxury, or a privilege, but the way we are meant to walk through life.

Whether it be in the space and beauty of nature, such as where you live, or in the cities and suburbs. The choice to live sans the invasions of tv and radio gives a serenity which I think is ours by inheritance.