On searching (for time)

I have to say that finding enough time to do everything I want to do, let alone everything I have to do, is quite a challenge. The 21st century communications revolution hasn’t changed that. My discretionary activities like blogging and reading have been on the back-burner in the past week, unfortunately. Consequently, with a recent book order from Amazon just arriving (including the book, The black swan: the impact of the highly improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb), plus a couple more books in the pipeline, my “spare time” in the future is already being mortgaged away.

And this brings me to the delightful book I have just started reading, called How to be free by Tom Hodgkinson from the UK. Hodgkinson is the editor of The Idler magazine.

 The basic tenet of the book involves Hodgkinson’s three key philosophies of life: freedom (anarchy), merriment (medievalism) and responsibility (existentialism). Sounds great, huh? And the book (well, the first few chapters that I have read so far) certainly advocates such a life, right down to the beers at the local pub (or better still, brew your own).

In Australia, we have our sea-changers and tree-changers, people wanting an alternative lifestyle to their crazily busy city-based existence. People want to spend more time doing the things that are important to them without the costs associated with living in an urban sprawl. It all sounds so wonderful until you realise that people still need to make an income and, invariably, still want some of the creature comforts of city life – amenity value (like a good cup of coffee from an atmospheric coffee shop, good schools, hospitals, recreational facilities, and good transport links). It is one of the things I have written about in the past (Letters to the Editor, Australian Financial Review, 1st March 2007) in terms of the need for a decentralisation policy in Australia. Essentially, it’s having one’s lamington and eating it too!

But is it really possible for us to drop out of mainstream society (unless you are already rich, work as a professional writer or freelance arteeest with an income stream that is – well, almost – guaranteed)? I mean, is it really feasible to do a 21st century Good Life?

I hope to have the answer by the time I have found the time to finish the book.


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