Units of Time (About a Boy)

My favourite film is “About a Boy”, adapted from the book of the same name written by Nick Hornby (the book is also very good).

In the film, the main character, Will (Hugh Grant) lives on the royalties from a cheesy Christmas pop song, “Santa’s Super Sleigh”, that his father wrote. He has never worked but has developed a very nice lifestyle for himself.

Will lives in the moment, he lives by his own rules, is responsible only for himself and likes it that way. He enjoys his own company and says of the phrase “No man is an island”, that he is Ibiza. He plans his day in units of time, each unit being 30 minutes; having a shower 1 unit, breakfast 1 unit, watching countdown 1 unit etc… For Will, the enormity of the whole day stretching before him with no structure is overwhelming, which I’m certain many of us can empathise with. So, he plans in units of time.

I have written before about scheduling activities that are enjoyable, rewarding or achieve something, in a way this is what Will is doing. With the Easter school holidays it’s even more important for me to have some kind of structure. Teenage boys aren’t known for their willingness to leap out of bed in the morning, or for their enthusiasm in taking part, which means that I have to build my structure around them… in units of time.

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