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The lost art of doing nothing

Wednesday, 4 December 2013
Recently I've been feeling just a little bit tired, there's nothing wrong with me but I couldn't shake it. Normally when this happens I take decisive action along the following lines, go to bed earlier, go to the gym more and drink a heck of a lot more water. It always does the trick. This time, to my own surprise I decided to do… nothing. Not sure why I took this course of action, it's extremely out of character. I am a doer. Normally when I have absolutely nothing to do I cross-stitch (yes, I am a closet crafter). Not doing does not sit well with me. Yet that's what I did. A kind of social experiment on a minute scale.

I won't lie, to begin with there was fidgeting. I felt uncomfortable. So I cleared the garden of leaves and tried again. Nothing. DO nothing… it's harder than you think especially with kids around. Getting kids to do nothing is impossible. So we went to see some reindeer. Then I really tried very hard to do nothing… and I shopped online. So far, doing nothing was an expensive time suck, but the garden looked good.

School gate conversations became awkward too, without my 'list of things I've done or have yet to do' I had very little to peacock in front of the other mums. I feared they may lose interest in me and my lack of chat. I worried about how this could impact on Bella and Bear, would they be excluded from playdate invites? Should I make some stuff up to appear more interesting? It made me wonder, does doing nothing break an unspoken social taboo? Do we fill our lives with doing things just to have something to say to each other? Do we need to be constantly doing something in order to 'have a life' or is it the stuff in-between the doing things where life happens? I mean when Buddha supposedly did nothing he uncovered the noble truths for crying out loud, that's some pretty smart stuff for a guy contemplating his navel under a tree. 

All this left me exasperated and no less tired than before I started doing nothing. I'm still at a loss to say whether it was all the nothingness or the serious introspection that tipped me over the edge, but there was a cleaning backlash.

I have concluded I have too much time on my hands to do nothing. It will lead to madness. So I'm going to make some peppermint bark and later I'm going to the gym. I'll still be tired but at least I'll have something to say at pick up.

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