Monday, 18 May 2015

Thank goodness for those old guys

I've not been a very good blogger recently. It's a combination of a post A to Z Challenge slump and a certain amount of turmoil on the domestic front as we get ready to leave Greece to return to the UK.

My blogging "slump" might also be termed laziness and is overcome by pulling my finger out, but the turmoil takes a bit more working through.

I am beset by doubts about what we are about to do and, to be honest, my only response to those doubts is to plough on and hope that all will be well in the end.

But sometimes even that tactic can struggle. This morning, for instance, we were drinking coffee with friends in a harbourside café. It didn't take long before people started pointing out - I was among them - that the weather in Devon, might not be conducive to such outdoor gatherings. And that led to me wondering just what on earth I thought I was doing leaving Skopelos.

So what a relief it is to learn that such thoughts are nothing new. Romain brainbox Seneca the Younger, who lived from about 4BC to 65AD, offered some pretty incisive thinking to a friend who moaned that after a recent journey he didn't feel things had improved.

Seneca the Younger, although he's looking a
bit worn around the edges here.

In his no-nonsense way, Seneca told his friend: "You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate.

"What pleasure is there in seeing new lands? Or in surveying cities and spots of interest? All your bustle is useless. Do you ask why such flight does not help you? It is because you flee along with yourself. You must lay aside the burdens of the mind; until you do this, no place will satisfy you."

So while Seneca's advice will not lead to me staying put in Greece, it will encourage me to "lay aside the burdens of the mind" or at least recognise them for what they are. I know the reasons for our move are the right reasons, even if we have to experience a bit of angst along the way.

I wanted to put some music with this, but was struggling to find something I felt would fit and then I remembered Sit Down by James. I think it goes well with Seneca's talk of fleeing along with yourself and having to lay aside the burdens of the mind.

Postscript: I am still trying to come up with a name for this blog to be used after I return to the UK. I had a moment's inspiration in the middle of the night recently only to discover that there was already a blog with that name. As Mr Micawber said: "Something will turn up".

  • Picture of bust of Seneca: CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


  1. sounds like some really rough back and forth going on in your head Mark. It's always so hard when you're facing making such a big life decision. But the advice from Seneca the Younger sounds very good. Hang tough. It will all work out. Great song choice!
    Michele at Angels Bark

  2. "You need a change of soul rather than a change of climate." I like this. That is probably what I need as well. Good luck to you on changing your soul. All usually works out in the end!

  3. This is a special song in our family - sung with great gusto by all - normally in the car. It has a very united feel to it - so on that note just wanted to say that your blogger friends will still be supporting you wherever you move to next, Mark and with the wisdom of Seneca behind you I'm sure you won't go far wrong :) Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

  4. Hi Mark - it snowed 40 years ago today ... and down here it is howling around .. we had sea foam being blown in over the cliffs at Birling Gap down from Beachy Head ... the weather is something to talk about??!! Devon sounds a great place to aim for ..

    Cheers Hilary


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