By Basil Gala, Ph.D.
In Search of Meaning
The end of summer in 2015 is nigh. I’m taking the boat from Gavrion to Rafina harbor on the 6th or 7th of September and on September 8 my BA flight to Philadelphia, then to San Diego, to arrive there the same day, at 8:35 pm, thanks to following the setting sun at jet speed. It’s time to take stock of what I’ve accomplished on Andros since I arrived here, May 30, about 10 am, to be greeted by my friends Dieter and Maria Rietenbach at Gavrion harbor and driven to the lovely house they built for me in Katakilos village in the hills above the fishing and yachting port of Batsi.
It’s been a good summer with hikes, swims, fine eating, and the company of friends, neighbors, also my nephew Constantine and my niece Marianna, with some of their friends and family members. But again, what did I accomplish, if anything, here? I put in a small vegetable garden back of the house, which eventually produced tomatoes, but mostly wild purslane and vleeta greens. From my lower garden, I picked many bags of sweet royal figs which I dried for next spring when I return. I kept in contact with my real property investments in California with the help of my daughter Elizabeth guiding her activities; also I got in and out of some stocks with some losses during its recent market turbulence (hardly an accomplishment). I wrote and sent by e-mail a number of reports to the family about our hiking adventures, and I finished the first draft of my book “Wage Slavery: Escape to Financial Freedom,” which I had conceived in San Diego last April in the form of an essay, presented to the Philosophers Roundtable in that city, now a book with introduction, ten chapters, and epilogue.
Whether the book on Wage Slavery was an accomplishment for others remains to be seen, depending on its reception by publishers and the public. For me, the book was a worthwhile project that kept me happily occupied and its completion was highly satisfactory. I felt productive during the writing of the book, so now what makes me productive, at least in the sense of personal fulfillment?
There you have it. If what you’re doing is a major undertaking, involving interesting work over several months, you feel you’ve done something important, whether others think so or not. For me, that’s enough, really. My enthusiasm in the work made me productive.
Each morning I kept my focus on what to write, segment by segment, following a broad outline. I had few distractions on Andros, in the quiet stone house practically free from noises and phone calls. After my morning green tea or light coffee, fifteen minutes of set up exercises, and a breakfast usually of cereal with fortified milk, I would attack my section of the book for the day, sometimes two sections.
Following the system of many professionals, I worked fifty minutes; then took a ten minute break for a phone call, a visit to the bathroom, or a stretch to relax. Periodically, I spent an hour or two doing various chores or checking the news and reading articles on the Internet, then returning to work with new ideas, which I jotted down on my notebook, and developed the ideas in my writing. My days were essentially devoted to work, as they would be at a regular job in an office, where unfortunately, you get few opportunities to relax and recover from your efforts to be more creative upon your return to the task.
My outings, walking for hours on the trails of Andros with Dieter and Maria were also a great source of relaxation, tiring as there were on occasion. I returned to the job next day with greater vigor and pleasure. All of the above reasons contributed to my vaunted productivity.