Permission to do Nothing, Sir!

Here's a photo of my ceiling. Feel free to stare at it.

Here’s a photo of my ceiling. Feel free to stare at it.

If there’s one thing I never do, it’s nothing. It seems like I just can’t do nothing right. I mean, I am ALWAYS doing something.  I’m writing, I’m folding clothes, I’m making plans, I’m walking the dog, I’m creating something out of paint, paper, beads, wire. I can’t sit still. This is the truth. But my housekeeping tells a different story.

Looking around my cluttered abode, you’d think I’ve mastered the art of doing nothing. There’s so much undone stuff at my house, you might ask yourself does she ever do anything?  Yes, I do. All of the time.  It’s nothing I don’t do.

Why? Why do I feel like I have to be busy all of the time? Could it be cultural? Does anyone else have this problem? When my son was in elementary school, I walked into the living room and found him lying on the floor, looking up. I asked him what he was doing. “Staring at the ceiling,” he said.

“Get up and go do something!” I commanded. Why?

When I later told my good friend about this, she laughed in my face. She said, “I just read an article about how we push our children too much and don’t let them lay around and look at the ceiling anymore.”

Oof. Not my finest moment as a mom. That ten year old boy who was thinking who-knows-what when I told him to stop staring at the ceiling, will think completely different things now, seven years later, when he looks up. The moment of idle contemplation I interrupted is forever gone.

It has been a hard couple of weeks for me physically, mentally and emotionally.  I honestly feel like I’ve been running on a treadmill for five and a half weeks straight. I stepped off of that treadmill Monday, exhausted.  So Monday night I asked my husband “Is it okay if I don’t do ANYTHING tonight?” That’s right. I feel so guilty about doing nothing; I have to ask permission to do it.

He looked at me like I was crazy. So I attempted to relax on the couch and watch an episode of Sherlock. (Watching TV counts as nothing, right?)

But I was fidgety. So I wrote this blog post while watching.

Shoot. I stink at nothing. I just can’t do nothing right.

2 comments on “Permission to do Nothing, Sir!

  1. Susan Brody says:

    I stink at doing nothing too! Fortunately, for my once-weekly TV viewing (Mad Men), I have two demanding dogs who make sure that my hands are always occupied! But as for you, it sounds like over the last few months you’ve more than earned a physical, mental and spiritual vacation, and I hope you take one and learn to embrace its fallowness.

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