Monday, 10 February 2014


I’m writing a series of blog posts exploring the books “How to be Free” and “The Idle Parent” written by Tom Hodgkinson.  I enjoyed a lot of the ideas expressed in these books, and think that exploring them further will help me to explore the principles behind my own way of living and parenting.

Chapter 29 – Stop working, start living – PLAY
 Tom urges those who enjoy their jobs to skip this chapter.  It's for those who aren't happy with their chosen method of earning money.  He suggests that life and work don't have to compete.  Enjoying oneself need not be something that you save up for and squeeze into the time you have in between working.  Instead of separating out the different areas of your life, could they not be more integrated?  Can you not make money out of what you enjoy doing anyway?  Or find ways to enjoy what needs doing?  If you can give up the job you don't enjoy you'll find you spend less on commuting and coffee shops.  Jobless, you can integrate working for a bit of money in various ways, with working around the house and just enjoying yourself and giving your time to your community.  Tom isn't suggesting that we all give up work and go on social benefits either, he's suggesting that we become independent of corporations and government.  Changing your work so that it's less stressful and more fun, so that you earn "enough", not lots, and still have time for play is another option.  Go freelance, with a varied "portfolio" career.

How does this match up to the ink-spots-and-grass-stains life?

 I'm all for this plan, though I do question how many people could "enjoy" cleaning toilets, maintaining train tracks in terrible weather, wiping people's bottoms and the like.  If everybody gave up work and earned money doing things that they enjoy, then how would our country fare?
I'm planning to do just this though.  I've already given up work to spend time looking after my children, so now it's just a case of building up this portfolio career and making money from doing things that I enjoy... keep watching this blog and you'll see how successful this is, or whether, in order to pay the bills and feel that I am properly contributing to my family, I end up back in a "proper job".

That's it from "How to be Free" by Tom Hodgkinson.  At some point I'll compile all 29 posts into one list so that they can be easily found, and in the meantime we'll get started on "The Idle Parent" and see how that matches up to our evolving style of parenthood.

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