Sunday, 10 February 2008

How To Be Free

I hope my brother isn't reading this. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want him to be 'free'. In fact, quite the opposite, which is why I bought him Tom Hodgkinson's book How To Be Free for Christmas. The only thing is, I haven't actually given him the book yet as I haven't seen him since before Christmas.

However, this has given me a chance to have a flick through the book myself (taking care not to crease the cover of course!) and it's full of some worthy advice. For example, in a chapter called 'Reject Career and All Its Empty Promises' Hodgkinson urges us to forget about the idea of chasing a career, but instead encourages us to find our vocation, our calling, which should be something that you enjoy doing as well as earn you a living:

We have a duty to look into our hearts and discover our vocation, find our gift. Once we have done this, we will find that other parts of our life follow quite naturally... ... And how do you find your vocation, your gift? The answer is simply to do nothing for as long as you possibly can. In the same way that wise gardeners advise that the first step when taking over a new garden is to do nothing for a year, in order to see what grows there and only then to design your own unique, useful and beautiful garden, so I would advise taking a few months off, or even a year, if you can manage it. (p. 48-49)

I like that idea. And it makes much sense. If you want to find out what you really want to do with your life, then I guess taking a little time out to discover what this might be is something to be encouraged. This sentiment continues in another chapter called 'Cast Off Your Watch', in which he urges us to... er, cast off our watches and stop being a slave to time:

Do less. Add space. Cut down on your scheduled visits and meetings to an absolute bare minimum to make way for the more enjoyable and life-affirming 'things that just happen'. When you let things happen to you, life starts happening too. So, allow giant gaps between appointments. Allow giant gaps in your life, because your life is in the gaps. (p.81)

All good stuff, and reminds me of the immortal words of John Lennon who said that 'Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans'. But then again (as Tim in The Office notes) John Lennon also said 'I am the Walrus, I am the Egg Man', so who knows what to make of that.

Still, Tom Hodgkinson's book contaains some good advice. Just don't tell my brother. Not yet anyway.

1 comment:

  1. Slow down, make a little space in your life, do nothing for as long as possible, hold.. hold.. hold.. and the answer will come to you, as sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening. My goodness that takes some guts that does. The young have those guts, until that is we adults, who were once young but have forgotten, succeed in knocking it out of them almost entirely. What a waste, what a crime we commit.