What is Life?

‘What is life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare’, says the poet William Henry Davies, and he had a point!

Thinking back to the ‘good old days’ 🙂 just makes you realise how much life has changed. When I was young, we had no car, we just walked or took the odd bus. Once a year for the holidays though, we would borrow my uncle’s old Morris 10 or another uncle’s even older van and take off into the countryside carrying everything, including up to 9 of us (it was a squeeze), kettle, teapot, frying pan, sausages, eggs etc – we enjoyed a full meal cooked over the primus stove beside the road. And we talked and laughed and sang (well the car had no radio……and no-one had a mobile phone)!

OK, of course, since those ‘Morris 10 days’, there have been a lot of changes that are for the better, but certainly not all……and of course I realise that to a degree at least, the ‘good old days’ only works because you have probably forgotten the bad bits.

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Family Outings Old Style – and not a mobile phone in sight!

You see, the main way things seem to have changed for the worse is that these days, people seem to have no time to ‘stand and stare’! Back in the Morris 10 days, we walked everywhere and if we did use my uncle’s car, even that went slow. There was no mad rushing about along motorways just trying to reach our destination. No, in those days we went slowly along country lanes and we had time to take in the things we were passing. To continue with the poet, such things as ‘sheep or cows’, woods, squirrels hiding ‘their nuts in grass’, ‘streams full of stars’, etc etc. Our forced slowness enabled us to SEE things that today we often miss. And we are poorer for it!

Back in the Morris 10 days, life was simpler. There was no internet, no computers, no mobile phones, no games machines to carry with you everywhere, so we weren’t trying to be in a dozen places at once as most people seem to be today, texting, checking emails, surfing the web, looking at Facebook, scanning through Instagram, Tweeting, and trying to keep in touch with everyone at the same time. Of course technology has its good points, making communication so much easier, especially with friends and family who are living away from us, but somehow this constant alertness to texts, tweets and tantalising Facebook topics becomes a stress, a stress that often we don’t even realise is there, and one that takes us away from where we are right now. And we lose something as a result!

Today, a walk in the woods is rarely just that as people carry all their contacts and friends with them in the form of social media which takes away from the immediacy of their surroundings. There is so much to see all around us but we need to maintain an awareness and focus on the NOW, to focus on our surroundings with eyes and ears alert to the bugs, bats, birds, bees, and a whole raft of other things. And life, or God, or nature, however you look at it, will reward us handsomely. I think this applies not just to a walk in the woods but whatever we are doing – if you focus on ten things, you get the best out of none! And if you rush around you get the best out of none!

Sometimes I think that technology, and especially social media, will go full circle and we will start to get tired of the way it complicates our lives, pulling us in a dozen different directions at once, and start to live more simply again; to live in the moment, concentrating solely on what we are doing NOW and on the people we are with NOW. If this were to happen, life might become a little freer, slower, less cluttered, and hey, even more rewarding.

So, how about it? Can we start to slow down again even if just for a bit of time out? Can we set aside our ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ and focus fully on where we are and what we are doing NOW. I fancy that every experience and every day will be richer for it!

Thanks for reading Time to Reflect and for reflecting with me.

(All pictures and words are copyright of Terry Yarrow)

11 Comments

  1. Oh boy the primus stove – those were interesting days and totally agree about no one having time see or notice things anymore. Really enjoying your blog Terry ….gets me thinking about watch with mother, the woodentops, Rag, Tag and Bobtail and of course Bill and Ben.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great family photo. 🙂

    I think that people who are really hooked on to social media aren’t communicating in a quality way – that’s impossible to do. And there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that social media doesn’t make up for face-to-face contact. Although there were good things about the old days, there were a lot of bad things too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lynette. I totally agree with you, I think social media probably does more bad than good really. People just don’t realise it. And yes, there were certainly bad things in the old days – fortunately we tend to forget those!

      Liked by 1 person

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