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Far from the Madding Crowd

As I sit in front of the fire watching the flames dance among the coals and feeling the blissful warmth on my outstretched feet I let my mind wander; yet I can’t help but feel I should be doing something. It’s a feeling that is forever creeping up on me just as I am beginning to relax and lose myself in something; usually something which could be considered trivial. The voice in the back of my head says, ‘Shouldn’t you be doing something more meaningful?’ and maybe I should, but that depends on how you define meaningful. For some people it might be getting work done, for others it might be making a difference to something in some way; but for me personally, something is meaningful if it makes me feel good, if it makes me think and feel and contemplate. For me, something is meaningful if it has soul.

However, I fear this art of contemplation, reflection and simply feeling are slowly becoming obsolete in a world where we demand everything to be ours in an instant. With the rise of streaming television, downloading music in seconds and carrying social media around with us on our phones we are making ourselves constantly busy. The online world never stops and sometimes it feels as if neither do we. When we get tangled up in the immediacy of this modern world we seem to forget the simple joys of drinking in our surroundings or just getting lost in a song, a book or our thoughts. Now we have to be doing something else while we listen to that song, or hurry around with our heads down ignorant of the world around us. Are we losing a valuable skill and an inherent part of what it is to be human?

I feel this is becoming more and more of a problem. As a society we are steadily becoming busier and the rapid advance of technology isn’t doing us any favours. The irresistible temptation of the online world is always there. We are now constantly contactable and things like our work are no longer a train ride away or a walk into town but right in the heart of our homes; usually in our hands, and a swipe of a finger away. It feels as if there is no escape. We are attempting to do everything and be everything, to fulfill everyone’s expectations whilst trying to achieve more and more. The candle is well and truly burning at both at ends. I’m not suggesting that we should all give up technology along with our hopes and dreams and resign ourselves to a melancholic life of languor, but how much is too much? I fear we are losing ourselves and forgetting how to simply ‘be’.

Sometimes we need to just ‘live in the now’ as my drama teacher used to tell me; because in the ‘now’ nothing else matters apart from that single moment. Just sit, just feel, just watch the flames and feel the warmth. Simply exist, if only for a while.

By Amy Jones.

Header Photo courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock,, photographer PaulCristianGeletu

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