Thursday, 3 December 2015


Just a couple of years ago, I could devour a good book for a week. That's taking into consideration that I have a full-time job and all I want to do is turn on the telly for white noise when I get home. I used to make at least two trips a month to my local library to borrow and return. I can't help but notice that nowadays I can barely get past the last few chapters of a bestseller within a three-week period. 

Where has my free time gone?

Or am I just mismanaging it as I'm more distracted than ever at any point in my digital age adult life?

Muted colours of Autumn-Winter by the pond of the Victoria and Albert museum in London

Glorious in Spring-Summer; gorgeous in Winter. The Garden cafe at the V&A

Longer hours at work; some weekends. Wider circle of friends --a positive thought rather than the opposite-- but constant virtual and face-to-face contact with several people at once and at length, spread over different schedules and time zones, does take up a considerable amount of time. Subscription to a couple of independent  publications, both online and by post, eat up some reading time as they're just as good as reading books.  Some new exercise regime? It's worth missing out on a chapter or two.

The other week, I checked my mobile service provider online account.  News flash: I'm up for a phone upgrade.  When I swapped my Blackberry for an HTC smartphone two years ago, the only reason I did was the phone kept stalling. I paid roughly £80 for an early upgrade.

Then came all the apps. Before Whatsapp, Viber, Instagram, Twitter, mobile Facebook, mobile Skype, Pages Manager, and the like, I only had the humble BBM and occasionally the old Yahoo Messenger  to stay in touch with those who didn't have a Blackberry. This inanimate object, whose aesthetic features override its utilitarian attributes, toggles between giving me a well-rounded digital life and draining myself of the real one.

via Brain Pickings' Facebook page

I thought that my personal life needed some clean-up job at the same time as my MacBook's start-up disk. 

I screen-grabbed the above from Brain Pickings' Facebook page a couple of weeks back. If you don't follow them yet, please do. It's a perfect space for picking up inspirational and philosophical morsels from celebrated writers and philosophers that can justify the time spent browsing Facebook. This poster sums up the very same things I have been unknowingly neglecting as being digitally and virtually connected in every way possible becomes even more enmeshed in our lives.

My corner

"Feed your inner life," Jane Kenyon says.  Mine is undernourished at the moment. I pumped it with nutrients by spending time in one of my favourite museums during one rare weekday off. It was bustling with tourists in summer which made the grounds more like a public park. This is my cup of tea: slow, unhurried pace, and the crowd was nowhere around. I bought a flat white and a bar of dark chocolate from The Garden Cafe and sat outside. I put on my jacket when the wind became chilly. I make sure that whenever I can, I bring my camera for any photo opps --not of myself but my surroundings. I revel in the silence and people-watching. I tried taking a selfie (yes, because I was wearing one of my favourite red lipstick shades), but decided against it as I looked silly. I wish I can experience more of this and not feel compelled to post every single photo in real time. After all, I'm not a news bureau. I wish I could draw and make some sketches. I wish I can do this more often. Sometimes all I need for company are my thoughts. 

I popped into my town centre's branch of my mobile service provider to enquire about my options for an upgrade. I don't need one, but it's our way of life now to be told that we do. Either the sales rep employed a reverse psychology on me, or he was already 100% up on his like-for-like sales, he didn't need to push. He said that as I own an HTC One, I was clearly a leader of the pack, so why be another follower and buy into the hype of an iPhone 6s Plus? Needless to say, the only thing he made that afternoon was sense. 

Ultimately, I think Jane Kenyon was leading us to break bad habits. That to me, is an upgrade.

How do you feed your inner life?


  1. Aaaah well I've been making sure I feed my inner life. I have no excuse: I don't have children or a partner and I work for myself so I like to make time for working out, being in the kitchen, staying myself (I love my own company) and saying no to things I just don't want to do - I go on social media when I'm bored, Twitter is more for business. However, I'm feeling complacent with life too and I feel I need to give myself a kick up the butt and introduce a bit more excitement and challenge in my life and I'm working on what to do for 2016. Have a great week xx

  2. I've been reading a lot of books lately and going to bed early so I could enjoy the precious two hours of spending it with my husband before sleeping. With no gadgets in the living room, we are "forced" to talk to each other and we won't be distracted by anything. I've also been seeing some really good friends lately, part of my promise to nourish my inner circle. It's nice to have long conversations about life over coffee or wine. And of course I run and bike. Lately I'm being cautious about my time and the people I spend it with. With several acquaintances dying around me, I'm realizing more and more how short life can be and every minute should be spent in quality endeavors, like watching a green wall for half an hour with no thoughts at all.


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