Lesson 17: The Solitude-Playtime balance

One can acquire everything in solitude except character

– Stendhal

I think I may be one of the biggest advocates for both solitude and playtime. Even as a kid, I enjoyed sitting in a corner where the moss grew, under the paper tree, drawing on the concrete with coloured chalk (milky blue was my fav).

Playtime and solitude almost seemed to be the same thing. It was a perfect balance I wasn’t aware of. I still wonder how I had so many friends with my quiet nature.

In retrospect, there wasn’t really a balance because what seemed like solitude was really playtime. No real responsibilities apart from making sure I wasn’t ‘stuck-in-the-mud’ or tagged “it”, my childhood was a ball. Only now, that balance I thought I had, isn’t there.

This is what I’ve learnt about this balance:

– If you work constantly mostly in the confinement of your workspace, no matter how much you love it, you will grow weary/anxious/uneasy/irritable.

-If you play constantly because you think you can think in noise, or work productively with your friends, you will produce sloppy/disconnected/unimaginative thoughts.

This isn’t a 50/50 balance, it is subjective. You see where the scales sit comfortably with you. Playtime doesn’t have to be loud, neon filled nights with boozy outbursts on your way home.

Nor does it have to be at home watching a movie amongst friends with sugar popcorn. Work doesn’t have to be quiet and dreary, like you’re going to work with the pile of tasks. Nor does it have to be loudly clunking away at your keyboard with music being blasted into your right ear.

You decide what playtime and what solitude means to you. What works for you.

You need solitude to gather your experiences, to work and develop through ideas. You need it to disconnect from worldly things and gain perspective of what your goals in life should be.

To round this up: don’t take this lesson lightly, it is more important than you think.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford.

The MicroRead.

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