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 😉 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? 😉
© Debra Carey, 2020