Solitude Deprivation 05/10/23

I listened to two books over the past few days. The first was At Work in the Ruins by Dougald Hine, which was great. I’ll have more thoughts on that later. The second was Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport.

Newport’s book offers a refreshingly realistic gameplan to significantly reduce the time spent looking at a phone. I get a lot of value out of these self-help books. As humans, we need reminders of basic truths: face-to-face conversation is better, phones make us anxious and depressed, etc.

A concept of his that I vibed with involved “solitude deprivation.” We often think of solitude as punishment. For prolonged periods of time, it is. The difference between a poison and a cure is in the dosage. One Tylenol can help with your headache. Twenty Tylenol will kill you.

Newport suggests that because we’re always connected through text and social media, we have no time at all to ourselves. Feeling inspired by this idea, I mowed the lawn today while my son chased me back and forth. When that stopped working to keep him occupied, I brought out his splash table and turned on the hose.

I only brought the phone out once to snap this picture. As I pushed the mower back and forth across the yard, listening to the noise of its spinning blades, I did so without any headphones in (a first for me in a long time). I vibed and thought about things and found myself fascinated in how the angle of the house in relation to the yard forces me to mow in a triangular pattern.

What other elements of day-to-day life are predetermined by the setup of our home? Those feng-shui people are onto something.

After my trip this weekend, I might schedule out an hour or two a week to leave my phone at home and go for a walk by myself. Over time I might extend those periods of time within reason, as I don’t think my wife would want me disappearing for ten hours at a time.

This day is much, much better than yesterday. Me and the kid went to Walmart to stock up on food. He talked to other customers in the self-checkout. We went over his 100 words book. I was surprised to learn that he knew words like “pear” and “laugh.” I was less surprised to learn that he knew “truck,” “airplane,” and “motorcycle,” considering his interests.

We got into a debate over whether a tomato was a tomato, or an apple. He also insisted that an orange was a lemon. Pretty sharp kid for only having turned two a few weeks back.

Have a good one.