Hello and welcome to Geeks Vs Loneliness, our regular spot to drop in, say hello and have a natter. Today let’s steal some time. Not with a Delorean, just the odd hour here and there.
For me, it’s usually a day. A step out of the norm, an itching under the skin to do something different. Walk somewhere new. Look at stuff that makes me think WOW!
I do this every other month. Events and thoughts pile up in my mind and my feet get twitchy. Recently the twitch took me to a beautiful art exhibition called The Secret Garden, full of glorious art by artists such as Rossetti, Waterhouse and Monet. And some frankly hilarious ceramics depicting plants with venereal disease… I did worry I’d be ejected for inappropriate snorting in a public gallery!
Life is busy. Some weeks it rushes by with deadlines, bylines and assorted paraphernalia that all go into feeding our modern, permanently switched-on existence. If you can’t do a day, try a half-day, an hour, even thirty minutes. Walk past that quirky gallery or museum every day on your lunch break? Why not pop inside? Do you have work time owing that you’ve not taken but you can cash in for a couple of spare hours of you time?
The last time I visited London for work I wandered into the Wellcome Museum while killing time waiting for a train. I found myself entranced in a room full of fireflies dancing in the dark like so many burning star filaments. Beautiful. Staring at a wafer thin cross section of the human body, courtesy of Gunter Von Hagans. Not everyone’s cup of tea, granted, but a real treat for me.
This was followed with a trip to the British Library. Once I’d convinced security that my asthma inhaler was neither a lethal weapon or a mini sex toy they let me in. I learned a valuable lesson in not joking with security guards that day! The Library often has free displays in their foyer. Being a book nerd I was a bit obsessed with Jane Austen’s desk and spectacles, and a cheery letter written by both Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. We all know how that ended!
Is there a film you want to see but haven’t because of time / no one to go with / you don’t want to admit that cheesy rom-coms are your bag? There’s something liberating about going spur-of-the-moment, grabbing a bucket of nachos and hunkering on down for two hours of escapism just for you. Though maybe don’t tip the plastic cheese all down your top as I am wont to do.
I know – some people do yoga or marathons in this space to let the head-spinning stuff go. And that’s great. But like Alice falling down the rabbit hole it is sometimes fun to go where your feet lead you. Explore your local area. Discover that strange museum with its Hand of Glory (truly a horrible artifact), check out what is free and what you can do on the cheap – many cinemas have a cheaper day mid-week and there are a lot of free galleries and museums out there that would love your support. My local independent cinema, The Tyneside, shows old news cinema reels every day for twenty minutes for free. Quirky, different, thought-provoking.
I’m asking you to think about stepping outside here. It is easy to come home and cocoon yourself in your familiar world, with box sets and downloads and zone out in familiar surroundings. To follow the zeitgeist series of the moment for that coffee break discussion at work on how you screeched like a banshee watching The Haunting Of Hill House. That’s great too. But sometimes we get so caught up in following the pop culture onslaught available through our fibre optic cable that we forget there’s a world outside the window.
I’m guilty of hiding behind my curtains. Working from home adds to my sense of isolation – and I’ll be honest, most days I don’t mind that. But some days it’s good to step out and feel the wind on my face, listen to the noise of people streaming by and smell the coffee brewing all over Newcastle. I admit my White Rabbit hole tends to have cake at the bottom of it. Follow the cake.
Give yourself the gift of some time. Not every thing you do when you follow the White Rabbit will take you into Wonderland. But you’ll never regret trying a new experience and switching gears for that magical hour or day that you permit yourself to have.
As ever, thanks for reading and take care. May there be many more days to steal.