Robert (gurdonark) wrote,
Robert
gurdonark

self-entertain


Flowers in a garden, originally uploaded by gurdonark.

I never have had a taste for cigarettes, alcohol, controlled substances or latte. I used to have quite a taste for chocolate, but I tempered my intake in light of its fat content. I am not particularly prone to the endorphin adrenaline rush of adventure. Like most people, my life involves a great deal more Walter Mitty than Amelia Earheart.

I am firmly in the camp of people who find immense comfort in a good book, a flowering garden, and a simple train ride.
I do not hunt for the local deer and doves, but enjoy seeing doves and house sparrows at the feeder in our backyard. I like a good walk on an easy trail. I am as transported by the sight of a 3,500 foot high mountain as if I had climbed a 10,000 foot high mountain. For that mattter, I'm transported by the rolling vistas of spreading prairie.

People speak of lost arts, and re-discovering ways to do things once common and now rare. I'm not an expert at any of those. Yet I find that a key lost art is the lost art of the ability to self-entertain: to find contentment in one's own company. I don't mean to "be an island", because the quote about how "no man is an island" is so pithy that it might as well be treated as true. I mean instead the ability for one to do or not do something, and still find life immensely entertaining.

There are a number of small-town virtues perhaps best left to small-town living. One small-town virtue, though, deserves export. In a small town, it is understood that in some ways "there is nothing to do". One must therefore learn to self-entertain. I am always amused by the perpetual truth of the young that "there is nothing to do in this town", ever since I heard one young fellow say this to another young fellow in the midst of a crowded mall in Los Angeles. in small towns, though, when there is indeed a smaller array of things to do, people find great comfort in doing things and enjoying them. The library is not taken for granted, but a lifeline. Appreciating nature and one's garden is another lifeline. Crafting is not a frivolous pursuit, but a necessity. Community activities and even sports are not a local affectation, but a local necessity.

I see it all as the abilty to self-entertain. If I could give people a gift, I think I'd give the gift to find contentment within oneself. It's as good as chocolate, and less fattening.

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