Are You Willing to Be Considered a Loafer?

One of my favorite photos from a few years ago – my kids walking with my Mom through a Redwood forest.

If a man walks into the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded a loafer.  But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”

Henry David Thoreau

Cultural ideas haven’t changed much in the last 150 years since Thoreau’s time.  Our society still places a high value on worldly accomplishment without actually paying much attention on a daily basis to the world where we live.

Thoreau can be an inspiration for any of us writers, because he challenges us to look deeply at the choices and sacrifices we’re making in our lives.

There is a power in taking your writing, your values and life seriously, Thoreau shows us this.

Daily Contemplation:

Do you give yourself permission to see yourself as a Thoreau of our time when you write about the choices you are making in your life?

Would you be willing to be regarded as a loafer to follow your deepest values?

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17 thoughts on “Are You Willing to Be Considered a Loafer?

  1. Tea Party Slayer says:

    It’s hard to be a loafer in America. The pursuit of material things and just plain financial security has kept me on edge my entire life. It wasn’t until I started to transfer some of that stress and pressure onto my son that I began to think about the benefits of loafing and soaking in the simple things. As I write this, I”ve been sitting on the deck with my wife and kid for about an hour watching squirrels steal seeds from the bird feeder. A few years ago, this is something I wouldn’t feel I had the time to enjoy.

    • Karen Wan says:

      That is true, perhaps increasingly so. I commend you for noticing the effects your lifestyle was having on your son.
      My children have been a great inspiration for me to learn how to balance work and play. I continue to believe that if enough of us choose to take back our lives that the overall system will change . . . eventually.
      Like you say, it can be tough to see our options in the meantime.

  2. livvy1234 says:

    Yes, I am living my values. I am Thoreau contemplating. It was a difficult journey to myself, and I continue to go deeper into the forest.

  3. sarafoley says:

    Henry David Thoreau – how good is he? And how depressingly current is his quote? I think of that John Lennon song, Watching the Wheels – Just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round…no longer riding on the merry go round – I just have to let it go. There you go, I bet you didn’t expect someone singing to you huh?

  4. Three Well Beings says:

    I really love the photo of your mom with the children. It’s the perfect illustration to your point. I spent most of my life unaware of how much I valued productivity that brought attention to myself, rather than taking the time to value myself without need to perform. I so badly want to continue to set aside that burden! Thank you, Karen. You share so beautifully! Debra

    • Karen Wan says:

      This photo is a symbolo of the joy of being on adventures in nature with my family, and it means so much to me.
      You bring up a great point! Our perceived need to perform is such a big driving force for so many of us. It’s a great thing every time we find a way to set about that burden.
      Thank you so much for your comment, Debra!

  5. stephenedwards425 says:

    I had to chuckle when I read your post, because it reminds me of Susie and I when I first began to write. I had the most difficult time convincing her that when I would spend several hours of each day staring out the window of our home at the woods behind us, I was actually working.

    The four-legged members of our family love it because I am in one spot for a long time, so they seize the opportunity to climb up in my lap (Jake, OC, Zip, and Annie-one dog & three cats) and sleep. I have to straighten my legs and rest them on another chair in order to accommodate everyone, but they think Dad is the best.

    So yes I am an official loafer.

    Be encouraged!

    • Karen Wan says:

      There have been times in my life when it didn’t feel like I had any other options than the culturally approved structure for my life. With patience and perhaps a sense of humor, both my heart and head have found ways to create a less conventional life.
      May your head and heart help you to be fully you! 🙂

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