Doing Nothing – what does that mean to you?

Refreshed after my little break and inspired by the marvellous Ally Bean who worked to rule decided to blog reduced hours for the summer, I thought I’d have a bit of a ramble about what we mean by ‘doing nothing‘. Ally described it as doing stuff which she considers not blog-worthy (and/or which she’d rather not broadcast to the world at large), rather than behaving like a slug.

Whereas, for me, doing nothing is behaving in an utterly self-indulgent manner. Not doing anything useful or worthy (like the housework), and usually involves putting my feet up, reading a book or watching something mindless on TV, perhaps having a chat about nothing weighty with a friend. In effect, it means not achieving, not doing anything which might appear on a To-Do list (unless you put reading on your To-Do list, in which case – kudos!) In Ally Bean speak, it’s being a slug – although seeking out leafy plants to chow down on is not required.

Now I love an art gallery, taking a trip the seaside with a camera, or visiting my grandchild, but these all involve movement, travel, effort … and doing nothing to me really means minimal to no effort. So, I’d go as far as the kitchen to gather the odd bit of liquid refreshment, or a snack, but I’d not go to the bother of cooking – ‘cos that would involve actual effort.

Ally felt bad that she wasn’t being entirely honest in her blog about what doing nothing meant to her, but that’s because I suspect Ally is quite the busy bee – especially when compared to me. She gardens for one thing πŸ˜‰ Now, I like a garden. I like taking pictures of plants and wildlife, but getting dirty, bending over, lugging around heavy watering cans … that’s all in my past. Gardening takes effort – lots of it – so doing nothing it ain’t!

People are often surprised about how many books I manage to read (although my numbers are way down for this pandemic year), but there’s no mystery – it’s because my idea of doing nothing usually involves a book – be that paper or electronic. Reading is about the right amount of effort for doing nothing in my book. If I lived in a warm climate and was near water, I could easily drift about in or on the water … but a book would probably still be involved, if not the electronic version. There’d be no sailing, no water skiing, no kayaks … again, all in my past. Sedate. Genteel. Lazy … that’s me.

I think doing nothing is good for the soul. High achievers would probably look at me thinking it’s clear why I’m not one of them. And they’d be right. I’ve worked hard in the past – up to & including burnout – and that’s something I’ll not risk happening again. It dovetails rather nicely with one other trait I’ve noticed – the older I’ve become, the more introverted I’ve become. It’s all really rather restful …

What does ‘doing nothing’ look like for you? Are you a busy bee like Ally, or a slug like me? πŸ˜‰

Β© Debra Carey, 2020

11 comments

  1. Doing nothing for me is reading a magazine. I still read actual printed mags, and I love turning the pages and looking at the pictures and it almost feels decadent

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  2. Good to see you back. I’m definitely in the slug department. My reading is way down too (ironic, given all the opportunities obviously), but I always do have a book that I’m in the middle of at any moment in time. My main set of joy since last March is YouTube; I while away many hours there, and I’m not ashamed of it! Slugly yours, Marty

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  3. I have my days of checking everything and more off of my to-do list, and then I have my days of complete ”slugitude”. Which I think of as restorative/recharge days. I think they play off each other quite nicely, and as a result, I am overall kinda balanced.😁
    Thanks Deb!

    Deb

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  4. Yep, reading or coloring is doing nothing for me. Watching the baseball game is doing nothing too. Nice post. Ally is great, isn’t she? Nice to see you.

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  5. I’m flattered to read your post based on my jottings about doing nothing. Never would I have ever thought that talking about doing nothing could be so filled with something. Yet, the conversation about how each person defines *nothing* is fascinating– and seems to be ongoing.

    You win my best line of my day with: “In Ally Bean speak, it’s being a slug – although seeking out leafy plants to chow down on is not required.” Good heavens, you know how to make me laugh out loud. Thanks.

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  6. Aw thanks Ally – delighted to have made you laugh out loud. We all need plenty of that right about now πŸ™‚ You are right though, isn’t it fascinating how doing nothing can turn out to be so meaningful.

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  7. Hi Janet πŸ™‚ Yes, I can very happy also do nothing watching a game, although in my case it would be rugby. Himself says I get rather too verbally animated for it to be considered entirely sluglike, but I’m pretending I didn’t hear him! Yes, Ally is great – I love her view of the world. It’s good to see you too.

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  8. Deb, there must be something in the name, for you’ve described my exactly the type of balance I strive for too. Good to see you – I’ll be over shortly to catch up on your VI adventures, as the pics I’ve seen on IG have made me positively jealous πŸ˜€

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  9. Hi Marty, it’s nice to be back. Delighted to hear you’re in the slug club too πŸ˜€ It’s a funny thing about pandemic reading isn’t it? I’m delighted to be getting back in the reading groove again. Himself is a HUGE YouTube fan & we even watch a fair bit together. Mostly, it’s stuff on photography from which I’ve learned loads – and all for free. Result!

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  10. Hi LA, I had a terrible addiction to magazines – mostly what my friend called “house porn” – which I broke some years back. Now I tend to only indulge myself at Christmas, but this year, I’ve indulged myself!. Like you. I find the sitting, doing nothing, while turning pages to be decidedly decadent.

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