I’m really bad at doing nothing.
Right now I have a cold and I am laying at the end of my bed.
I just confessed to my housemate that I (almost) love being ill because it gives me the a reason just to be.
But even now, I’m having trouble doing nothing. Instead of relaxing my muscles and focusing on Netflix and ginger tea, my head is spinning around: now you could write, now you could watch all the movies you have lined up to watch, read the books that are waiting by the bed. Oh yeah, and you have tons of emails as well to check, a laundry pile to wash, and why not call your mom now that you finally have time.
I have so much to do!
See, I’m a spinner. I’m all about doing stuff, meeting people, being here and there.
I know where this maniac comes from.
Firstly, it’s rooted in my childhood. Like many other women, my mom is a master of multitasking. Every autumn she’d come up with a new hobby: Italian classes, Pilates, theater practices, sculpture workshops or water gymnastics that she (quite literally) would run to straight after work. (Her latest love is hatha yoga.)
The second reason, I’ve figured out, for my restless mind is our result-focused social-media culture. “Look where I was!” “Look what I ate!” “Look what I did/published/achieved/made/produced/filmed just now!”
The thing what we don’t see is that behind these single status updates lie often years of hard work. I doubt that anyone came up with a business plan in a fortnight. No one wrote a book in a month (well, I doubt that). That film of your friend took probably an art school education. Getting that baby out didn’t happen just by pushing a button.
I’m almost 30 years old. And honestly, sometimes, I’m terrified. I was supposed to have a family, written books, started my own company and gotten married by now. Well, kind of. I think all of the things on the list (perhaps without one exception) I knew I wanted to do in the last year or so. I should be happy about knowing what I want—not terrified for not achieving them! I have as much time as anyone else. There’s no such thing in the present moment as “too late.”
What I often forget is that we are likely to get closer to those dreams by taking one step at a time. Doing one thing at a time. Letting our mind rest when it needs to. Letting our bodies just be.
It’s okay sometimes not to go that yoga class or cooking course. Even canceling that dinner date is okay if you are feeling tired.
When my mind really starts to spin over all the things I haven’t done but want to do, I remind myself of this:
“But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano / act / paint / write a decent play?” Yes…the same age you will be if you don’t.” ~ Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
I’m still sick at the bottom of my bed, but I wanted to write.
So I wrote this. Now I can happily watch Netflix and read that book before bedtime.
Author: Sara Kärpänen
Image: Hillary Boles / Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman