Sometimes, when things get overwhelming, I fantasise about being Robinson Crusoe.
For a few minutes, I’ll dream of what great joy it would be to get away from everything.
Nobody else’s problems.
Peace and quiet.
Then, of course, common sense kicks in.
It wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs for Mr Crusoe, who feared for his life at times and every day hoped to be rescued.
And there was that rather odd triangular fur hat to be worn, too.
He did, eventually, make the acquaintance of an escaped prisoner, who he called Friday – so wasn’t completely alone for the entire duration of his enforced stay on the island off the coast of Trinidad – but imagining life as a castaway is a helpful reminder that we’re all better off when we’re part of something bigger.
Sadly, low mood and depression can lead to an understandable desire to shut yourself away from life, perhaps partly out of the legitimate belief that things will eventually get better if you simply allow yourself time on your own.
While there may be some logic in this, I’ve generally found that during gloomy spells it has helped to feel that I’m connected in some way to some big idea or another.
Organised religion can fill this need for some, but for me it seems to be the knowledge that I belong to various groups, and that I have distinct roles with certain people in my life.
Together, those connections make me feel I have a purpose in life.
So how about you?
Who looks forward to your company?
Who enjoys (or might do if you let them) looking after you?
Who depends on your help?
Is there some place you go to where everybody remembers your name?
I think in some ways we all have these important connections, and it really does make sense to nurture them – at the very least to be conscious of them.
For now, however, I’ll leave you with the two flies who landed on Robinson Crusoe’s back.
As one of them prepared to leave, he said to the other: ‘I’ve got to go now. But I’ll see you on Friday.’
Which in the case of you and me is indeed the case.