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I can’t remember the last time I sat down and did absolutely nothing.
Nothing is for lazy people, for the ones who aren’t ready to seize every moment of their lives to do something productive, to be of benefit, to do something different.
I have to do something new every day so I don’t have to be the same person I was yesterday.
I have to squeeze every minute to the last drop so I can finish the unending tasks I have, to close the 1,000 opened tabs in my mind (and that don’t seem to end).
I have to finish the necessary life tasks: fixing whatever’s wrong with my car, cleaning up unnecessary folders and documents on my laptop, clearing my phone cache, doing my grocery shopping, doing my nails, waxing, checking up on my friends and family, making plans with friends I haven’t seen in so long, and so on.
I have to do things on my to-do list: writing that chapter that’s been on hold for a while, catching up on my gym schedule, reading the book that’s been on my shelf for the past week (staring at me and scolding me for leaving it as a prey to dust), finishing the portrait I started painting months ago…
Well, you get the gist of it.
And where do I often end up? Filling my day with so many tasks that none of them get finished.
I did write a book, but it took me three years to publish it.
I’m almost done with my manuscript for my new trilogy, but I’m barely sending one query per week.
I’ve been postponing a meet-up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while (and whom I love) because of the many tasks that could wait but somehow pass off as extremely important.
And I’ve gotten to a point where I stopped for a second, overwhelmed with everything I’ve been doing.
I felt like I’ve been doing a bit of this and that every day, and I never actually finish anything and end up missing out on so many things.
And I’m not talking about missing out on lunch dates and a trip to the movies, as good as they sound.
I’m missing out on taking care of myself and my mental health.
We need to think of our mind as a being by itself.
Just like physical exertion should entail physical rest, exertion of the mind should entail “mind rest.”
How often do we underestimate the power of sitting still in silence without doing anything, absolutely nothing?
I’m not saying we should barely move and embrace laziness, but we must find balance.
I have been seeking busyness my entire life, ever since I graduated from school. From the first day of university, I studied and worked full-time. I woke up, went to work, then to classes, then to my other work, then home to study, and ended up sleeping at midnight then waking up at 6 a.m. (not to mention sleep insomnia).
I realized that I made friends with busyness because I was afraid of sitting with my own thoughts. Somehow, the silence was frightening. It was frightening because it was never complete silence; it was always accompanied by thoughts I dared not visit and that I buried behind a tight door in my mind and memories.
That’s why I drowned in so many tasks that I created for myself, but which became detrimental to my mental health.
So, what if…what if these thoughts are only scary because we don’t visit them and they turned into something dark and unknown? What if they are similar to the sea when we first learn how to swim?
We may think this pool is so deep and we won’t be able to float, but once we jump in and gently move our arms and legs, we see ourselves floating and there’s really nothing to be afraid of anymore.
I’m not one to generalize an advice and say that it should work for everyone. But it is something to think about.
We need our mental rest. We need to take a moment and truly, actually breathe.
However and whenever that works for us, we need to squeeze in time to do absolutely nothing.