Next week I’m going to be alone, at home, for four and a half days.
That’s 108 hours or 6,480 minutes.
It’s even 388,800 seconds.
But I hope I’m not going to be counting.
I haven’t been home alone for more than a few hours for, ooooh pinch me, 11 years?
Not since I was pregnant while my husband was away on a business trip and I had to take my 32-weeks-with-twins pregnant self to the hospital and park in the tiniest parking space you ever saw.
(I remember this because I got a round of applause from three men in the car next to me. :-))
So, it’s been a loooong time.
I have been thinking about how to spend my time over these days.
Some would go to a spa, have a facial, get her nails done.
Others would go on a road trip, see the sights, scour the scenery.
And a few would get drunk and sleep in.
But I’m going to do none of these things.
I’m going on a retreat.
But with a difference.
I’m going to stay at home.
I’m going to hole up, relax, and chill out.
But that’s not the difference.
The difference is, I’m not going to know the time.
I’m not going to use any transportation except my own two feet.
And I’m not going to use artificial light.
I was inspired by this post on Mark Sisson’s Daily Apple.
I thought it sounded a cool idea, challenging and perhaps personal growth inspiring.
You see, I have a love/hate relationship with the modern world.
I think we are living through an amazing time.
But I also see that, to someone with an addictive, hyperfocused personality like mine, modern conveniences can pave the way to restlessness, distraction and sloth.
One of my favorite blogs is Modern Retro Woman.
She takes values, ideas and views from the past and looks at how they might be useful to us today.
And I love that.
I want to peel off some of the excess that creeps into my life, deny some of the things I take for granted and restrict my favorite tools that allow me to avoid and procrastinate.
And I want to see what it’s like, what I can learn, how I can benefit.
I want to see how not knowing the time affects how I use it.
Now, I don’t want to white-knuckle this experience.
I’m an introvert and I haven’t spent 11 years almost entirely in the company of other people to then spend an extended period of alone time (which to me is heavenly) being miserable, gritting my teeth, longing for the wanderers to return.
So, here are…
1. No clocks. That’s right, I won’t know the time.
2. No computers, iPhone or Kindle. (They have clocks.)
3. No artificial light.
4. No TV, washing machine, hairdryer or other electrical appliance except those mentioned below.
5. No car – I will walk places if I need to go anywhere.
6. I will have heat – for food, drinks and warmth. I decided to allow myself this modern convenience.
7. I will also use my fridge and freezer.
8. I will not stock up on food – I have enough already and if I don’t, I’ll walk downtown, and consider the journey an opportunity.
9. I will have company – I won’t be entirely alone.
11. I will keep my home landline phone on in case of emergencies but only use it if there is an emergency.
12. I will wear slippers, my new Vibram Five Fingers (squee!) or go barefoot continuously unless I take the trip downtown in which case I’ll pack a pair of tennis shoes.
13. I reserve the right to wear makeup if I want because I won’t be able to use my hairdryer and the sight of me might be just too scary!
I have jotted down some ideas/projects I’d like to do over the days – clearing out closets, framing photos, that kind of thing.
I will turn off all clocks that can be turned off, tape over or put away the others.
I will tape the light switches to prevent the automatic action of turning them on when going into a room.
I have bought candles. (Holiday ones at half price! That made me happy…but will I have enough?)
Friends have been told what I’m doing and invited to randomly knock on my door. But they can’t take me anywhere in their cars and they are under strict instructions not to tell me the time or even wear a watch! But we can go for a walk or have a cup of tea around my kitchen table.
Is there anything else I should think of?
I think I’ll get a bit nervous at the beginning (heck, I’m a bit nervous just writing about it.) Four days can be a loooooong time if you’re hating every minute of it.
I’ll get some projects done.
I’ll be extremely productive to start with.
Then I’ll get bored and restless, craving all the things I’d given up especially not knowing what the time is.
Then I’ll relax into it and time will speed up.
My sleep/wake cycle will stay steady and perhaps even settle further.
I’ll sleep when I’m tired and waken when I’m ready.
Maybe I’ll even finally learn to stop my thoughts long enough to meditate!
After The Experiment
I plan to come back to this post and see if my theories held up.
I’ll handcode a blog or two (that means I’ll journal) about the experience during the week and then type them up later as blog posts.
And I’ll see what I’ve learned from the experience.
I’ve wanted to do a timelessness retreat for many years.
Going the extra mile by doing without a clutch of modern conveniences will be a good but doable challenge.
I was a Girl Scout and got many, many badges.
But calculating the time from the position of the sun, moon and stars was never my strongest suit, so I’ll be guessing.
Wish me luck!
Have I forgotten anything? What do you think will happen? Would you try this yourself? Let me know in the comments!