The fine art of doing nothing, or, I’m almost ready to relax … 5 more minutes …

The art of doing nothing. I have friends who will post on Facebook about their delightful day lounging on the couch watching every episode of Lost, or Star Wars, or just reading for hours on end. It sounds so delightful, this enjoyment of nothing, of quiet, of letting time pass without any attempt to bend it to your will.

It’s a skill I lack, and sometimes so wish I had. I just finished my semester of schooling, and throughout the semester I’m always a week or more ahead, doing next week’s assignments, finishing my term project a month early, making sure all is done and done well. There’s something in my head which thinks somehow time might not cooperate, so I must gather it as I can. I might become sick and unable to work, or family issues might arise, or my schoolwork might suddenly become harder than I imagined and need my focus and attention to complete. So when classes are in session, or when I’m studying on my own, there’s always more to do, because you can never know everything.

But today is my first day without any schoolwork to complete. It’s done. Now, that’s not completely true, I have a Java class this summer, starting in two weeks, and I’m already into chapter 3 of the book, and I could continue with that. I find most concepts gel better in my brain on repetition, so I try to learn things on my own first, then with instruction, and knit the experiences together into a stronger cloth. So I could be working on that.

But I’m protesting. Protesting my own need to do something. I had told myself, “yay, I’ll have a day of complete freedom!” To relax and enjoy, to sip tea and read something frivolous and just be. Only, that’s kinda my version of hell. I’m two hours in, and I’ve researched brown recluse spiders (since we might have them in our house, or might not, and I want to know what to do if we do, and if we get bitten, and everything anybody knows about brown recluse spiders); I’ve cleaned the kitchen; I’ve studied (just a little); I’ve read about getting hired as a programmer (since I still think that might be a path for me, though I also feel I could never know enough to really do it well); and I’ve written, including this one, two blog posts.

The funny thing is, I can do nothing and enjoy just being when I’m with my kids, or my husband, and we’re relaxing on the deck, lounging with the paper or a crossword or a leisurely game of chess. Being with people is, to me, being productive, because what is more important than being with the people you love? But being by myself, I must do things, because things, they need to be done. Except when, well, they don’t.

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