By Tom Flynn
The Importance of being Idle.
I like to have time to myself, not that I don’t like company, it’s just solitude has always been something I’ve been very comfortable with. I was quite introverted in the past, and to be honest I still do have a tendency to become introspective, even while in the best of company, but I certainly don’t think of myself as a loner per say.
This alone time to be quite frank often consists of doing absolutely sweet fuck all. There’s times where I’ll be doing nothing more than laying down on my back and listening to music at full blast. When I do that, I’m not really there at all. I kind of meander through these incredibly vivid waking dreams, think The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, except not quite as dramatic or cringeworthy.
When I was a child there were just straight up daydreams, or maybe rehashings of past events in my favour. I think that’s something all children do. I suppose I’m a little bit strange to never have grown out of them. Their content’s just different now.
Most of the time I’m just running conversations or scenarios in my head. I think it’s my brains way of working through problems or forming opinions on things. Sometimes I’ll even surprise myself at the conclusions I’ll arrive at after beating myself in an argument. When I was in Edinburgh and a brief was really getting the better of me, I’d actually pace instead of lying down to try and get some momentum into my thinking, it used to drive my roommates spare. And yes I’m aware of how weird it may seem but it’s honestly something I do.
I feel it helps me creatively, I can really project myself whole hearted into problems or scenarios or other people’s shoes. I mean it can be negative too, but not in the sense you’d imagine. It never intrudes on my concentrating, but it does help catastrophise problems that may not even exist.
Recently though I haven’t had much time to just be alone. Between moving to London, and into a new flat and starting SCA, I’ve been all out trying to get settled, and haven’t had much time to be idle. I think the mindfulness I’ve been practicing has been making me restrain myself in this regard a little too. Maybe I see as future thinking.
On the way to the church this morning, while cruising along on my bike and blaring The Village Green Preservation Society on my headphones I almost killed myself twice because I’d slipped into one of those waking dreams I haven’t had time to indulge in. The essential elements were there, loud music and relaxation, it was just unfortunate I was moving downhill at the time.
It seems my brain misses it’s little trips away, and now it’s starting to take them at inopportune times. That might turn out to be a problem, so as part of my ever-growing mental health maintenance regime, I’m gonna make some time for daydreams.