It Ain’t Easy Being a Hermit

Illustration by Tim O'Brien
Illustration by Tim O’Brien

When I started working for myself full-time, I was a little worried that I would quickly become a hermit. I’m perfectly content going long stretches without seeing people, and I like my peace and quiet. However, I understand the value of seeing people on a regular basis, hence my concern about my natural tendencies versus my human needs.

I shouldn’t have been worried, because I’m much more social than I was before I started working from home. Sure, I’m not surrounded by coworkers every day, but I’m much more free to spend time with friends in the evening (or even during the day).

Also, after reading a recent article, I realized that I’m nowhere close to being a hermit. If you have 10-15 minutes today to read that article, I highly recommend it. It’s a fascinating story about a man who walked away from society almost 30 years ago and lived mostly off the land during that time. He only saw one other person during those 30 years, a hiker he stumbled upon.

I don’t want to spoil the story, so I highly recommend the article. I will say that the hermit (who was arrested last year on multiple charges of theft) had little to say about life despite all the time he had for reflection in nature. He talks about surviving winters in Maine that go down to -20 below freezing, but he really only has one piece of advice for the world:

“Get enough sleep.”

Well said, hermit. I concur.

4 thoughts on “It Ain’t Easy Being a Hermit”

  1. That was a great read, thank you. I definitely see a certain appeal in living a simple, quiet life away from the distractions of the modern world. I’m not sure I’d take it to this extreme, but slightly more civilized version of this sounds kind of amazing.

    My parents have a small, one-room cabin on a large parcel of land in the middle of nowhere. They had a friend build them an outhouse next to it and they have a small propane cooking stove and heater. If they need to wash dishes, they use a bucket filled with water. Right now they shower outside using a bag of water that’s been heated by the sun; it hangs from a tree branch. They’re talking about maybe enclosing a small space off the porch so they can shower in the winter without freezing. It’s just a weekend retreat for them, but it’s a great place to get away from it all for a while. I’m halfway hoping for the zombie apocalypse so I have a reason to go live out there permanently though. 🙂


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