Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Entertainment in the backwoods

Perhaps the most common question I get is

"what about television?"

After I point out that I have never owned a television, the next question is always:

"what do you do for entertainment?"

The answer has always seemed so obvious to me, but when I look around me, even those folks who live nearby are trying to keep up with their city brethren by watching Idol, Survivor, or whatever they are told to watch..

So maybe the answer isn't so obvious.

First and foremost, I live. The single most important aspect of choosing the life I have chosen is so that I may focus upon living, instead of merely existing or working to exist. In this, as in so many things, I am following Thoreau, who suggested that we should not be working six days for that one day off, but rather should be living those six days, and perhaps working but one.

I know that some folks will dismiss that as fantasy or not possible any more, but I am living proof that it is possible, and I am far from the only one. But that is a discussion for another time.. today is about fun!

So why did I think that the answer is obvious? Because I choose to live in a way that I enjoy. This means that I do not stop living in order to have fun. When I am in the garden, I am enjoying myself, I am entertained. When I am hiking in the woods, I am enjoying where I am, but also looking for wild edibles which is a passion of mine.

Shouldn't where we live be the place we are most entertained, the most happy?

But of course there is more than that to my entertainment. I enjoy making wine and brewing beer, which lead to the obvious entertainment later when shared with friends, even when that friend is just a friendly thunderstorm, or showy sunset.

More than anything though, my entertainment is reading. No less than Thomas Jefferson was known for saying "I cannot imagine a life without books." I share this sentiment whole heartedly. So those days that the friendly thunderstorm keeps me inside, I turn to the large stack of books which has been patiently waiting for me for so many years. Some of these books I acquired before I went to graduate school, but somehow in the decade since, I have not found the time to read. Now is that time.

If I tire of reading, and this happens very seldom, I can always turn to writing, or once again to designing homes. Even last night as I was drifting off to sleep an idea hit me for a modification to the current design which might lead to even more interesting possibilities.. so I will explore it just to see where it leads.

Being a luddite with an internet addiction also provides entertainment.. I've already touched upon the luddite entertainments, but of course I do get online as well, when the stars are aligned, the gods appeased, and the lucky numbers from the horoscope are all in my favor so that the wireless connection actually works..

Online, I read. Surprise, huh? But I also look for books to read, and enjoy seeking more ways to be frugal and be self-sufficient.

For books, I use Goodreads.com, which combined with Half.com provides nearly all of the books and book suggestions I can use (though don't let that stop you from suggesting books!!) Goodreads.com is well worth checking out if you have a passion for books. Unlike social networking sites, this site focuses on something of value. You may connect with folks, but not over a trivial ad driven game, but rather over ideas, issues, and books.. Best of all you can see what others are reading and get suggestions as to what others who like what you have read, have themselves read.

I'll go into the frugal sites later..

As you can see, I am not lacking for entertainment. It is all around me. It is all around all of us, if we will stop entertaining our selves to death and just see it..

"But what do you do for fun?"

I live.


Professor Pope said...

You could certainly argue that the premise behind the question suggests some sort of false dichotomy -- that there necessarily is a distinction between "fun" and "work". When, in fact, if you are engaged an stimulated by whatever it is you are doing, then that distinction ceases to have any meaning.

Storm said...

Well put... Along the same lines, my father used to say that if you enjoy what you are doing, then it isn't work, obviously playing off of the same assumption I was making that "work" is something that you don't enjoy doing. As you point out, this need not be the case. I suspect that I will never work any harder than I will when I start the actual build process, yet I will not be "working" a day of it.. I am looking forward to it like a kid looks forward to christmas..