Saturday, 5 July 2014

Downsizing and being on my own

Love this picture :) courtesy of Fleet Feet
I live in a country where we have a lot of creature comforts. Sure, there might be people struggling - I don't really know the true extent of this - but nowadays, we have massive TVs, Ipods, Ipads and the like. And many people can't be without their cars, even if they live near a large town or city.
Many British people seem to see a holiday abroad each year as a God given right. As if working hard in a job they don't particularly enjoy gives them this right. In the meantime, important things such as nature and community have been neglected.

We do take things for granted, for sure. This has been brought home to me during the last month. I've moved across the Pennines to Huddersfield, an area which I like (except the town centre isn't that great). But with another stint of unemployment happening - and this time being determined to manage on my own rather than beg for money when I keep spending more than I have - I've been a bit limited as to what I can do.

At home, I've had no fridge, only a slow cooker, no TV and no internet access (the latter two of which were partly my fault). I've not even been able to watch the World Cup, which has taught me to make sure I have a TV in place for the next World Cup. I could really do with a portable cooker at least, so that I can do some pasta dishes, but it's hard when you haven't got much money. That plus the bank has charged me a whopper for going over my limit. A lot of people would struggle to cope with that - and particularly if you have kids, I wouldn't recommend not having a fridge and cooker.

I've been for plenty of walks, and luckily I'm not short of a nice walk or two round here. It is a lovely area. I've been to libraries and had the odd chat with people passing by, as you do. But the only time I've seen like minded people/friends is on a Sunday at the Buddhist centre. Whilst I'm better on my own than a lot of people (in fact, I'm the kind of person who needs to have quality time on their own more than many do) - I still think it's important to have a balance between solitude and company.
And too much time on my own can be hard - and it doesn't help that I find it hard to ask for support.

At the same time, it makes me realise how much we focus on what we HAVEN'T got, rather than what we have. It seems like human nature, at least for us in the western world, to focus on what we lack. Or maybe it's because of the way we were conditioned. Meanwhile, in third world countries, people are grateful for what they have, or seem to be at least. Maybe westerners have been disconnected from their true nature. I don't think technology is wrong, and I will be forever indebted to the Internet, otherwise I don't know how I would have got through the worst time of my life. But, partly due to the crazy hectic lifestyle, a lot of British people need their phones, the internet and the like .. yep guilty as charged ;) I certainly couldn't be without Facebook.

There is little sense of community these days. Socialising and meeting people costs money - there's no getting away from that. And if you have little money left after your basic needs of food, clothing and shelter are met, it's not easy to meet many people. I am not looking forward to the Buddhist centre closing for the summer holiday. Hopefully I will find a way of making new friends .. starting with a meetup event in town tonight, related inevitably to Le Tour de France.

They say you learn during the tough times. I'm sure you do. It's not easy being on benefits, but at the same time, I absolutely do not want to go back to doing a stressful job again - the next job HAS to be right for the sake of my mental and even physical health. So it's a question of trusting. There are times when I get frustrated, times when it doesn't seem like things are going to get better. And maybe it's not all about hoping that things will get better, but about learning to appreciate what I have NOW.

Have you had prolonged times of isolation? How have you dealt with it?

Many blessings


  1. I can very much relate, we did not have a fridge for a year once, ended up freezing water bottles and putting them in our broken fridge, it worked though, just needed changing every day. And socialising does cost a lot. As you know my solitude path has been over 4 years now, with little contact with others, but I can see now what a gift it has been and without the distractions of other people I am discovering who I am. I manage it through writing and basically enjoying myself in cafes, taking photos everywhere I go, the internet, which I am sure you will sort soon enough and reading books. I walked through the pain on my own, felt the shit that came up to be felt for the first 3 years and it was tough Andy, but I would not change a thing now. I am ready for the world again but this time the real me is coming out not one that was masked over by society.

  2. I think for me it's a bit of a mixed blessing :o)


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