Doing Nothing

I have been thinking about how we spend our time, and more specifically how I spend my time, for a couple of weeks now. This has been triggered by a number of things. I am working on a five year plan, potentially a two year plan, to get to a point where it is no longer necessary for me to have a job. I have been thinking about what I would do with all my free time. At the same time it means that where weekends were spent cycling and pretty much nothing else, maybe reading, wining and dining, watching tv, it now means I spend my evenings and sometimes weekends “working”. This also means that I re-evaluate the amount of time we spend watching television, in my opinion a mind-numbing waste of time. If I had my way I would sell our tv, but I do see the benefit in having it for the odd DVD night, so I would settle for selling our DSTV decoder, if I had my way of course. Another event that has triggered this is that I’m really battling to get out of bed over the weekends for our early morning rides, even during the week I struggle. So I’ve been wondering if snoozing in is really such a waste of time.

In all of this, I believe in balance. I fully understand that we cannot be on the go for 24 hours every day of our lives. But what I’m struggling with is what I consider downtime. A good example – on rainy days when we cannot go cycling, most of us cycling buddies, specially where both partners cycle, have no idea what to do with our time. I can now think of a thousand things to do in that time, but the point is that quiet time is part of what is necessary for us, or we’ll burn out. Still, what do I consider downtime, and how can I make it meaningful for me? Maybe that is exactly it. I’m at a point in my life where every minute should have meaning to me. I read a motivational clip the other day again that says that every day we learn something. Am I really? Some days I go home and feel like I haven’t gained anything from the day.

I’ve never been ADD, but I’ve always been a busy body. Having said that I have been able to stay in bed a whole Saturday, and acknowledge that it was probably necessary. Nowadays it seems like it is much harder for me to shut down. Mostly because I don’t know what is a good shut down for me. The normal stuff seems like it is all that we do – watch movies, eat at restaurants… There has to be more than that. I can think of million things we can do, in fact we have a list, but it all needs some up front planning, and usually by the time I am in a times lot where I am ready for downtime, I haven’t even thought of planning anything. That’s the other thing, to me down time is still doing something. Leon can do nothing and be perfectly content. My brother is the same. So is my mother. When i was younger I thought them lazy, nowadays I envy how people can sit doing nothing and feel completely guilt-free about it.

And that is what I’m questioning the most. Should I force myself to be content with doing nothing, or should I find something I can do that helps me just be. I’m a doer, that’s my thing. But like so many things in my life I’m questioning wether I’m trying to run from something by always doing, or whether I can still have downtime, balance, peace, and still do. Maybe what is happening is since I’m forever doing one thing to the next, I’m getting out of touch with my quiet time. What would I like to do more of? Read – I haven’t been doing lots of that lately, even though I have a pile of books on my bedside table I would love to get through. Again, the books I read are all about mind, body, soul, business, leadership, relationships, and everything else I want to work on every day of my life. Am I really switching off? Yes I have storybooks a plenty that I also haven’t gotten to yet, but again if I have the time to read I’d rather spend it enriching myself.

I didn’t have the answer when I started writing, and usually writing helps me find answers. Today’s blog helped me define the questions better, but I’m guessing this one is going to need some contemplation….

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One thought on “Doing Nothing

  1. When was the last time you spent a quiet moment just doing nothing – just sitting and looking at the sea, or watching the wind blowing the tree limbs, or waves rippling on a pond, a flickering candle or children playing in the park?
    – Ralph Marston

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