Recently I spent an entire Saturday doing nothing. Well, I didn’t do NOTHING. I watched TV. I surfed the Internet on my iPad. I took a nap. And, of course, I ate three full meals (or possibly four), plus the requisite snacks in between.
When I say I did nothing for an entire day, I mean I didn’t do any of the typical things that consume my life nowadays. I didn’t attend a meeting. I didn’t work on a project. I didn’t scramble to meet a deadline. I didn’t do any chores. I just hung around the house all day. I think it was the first time in at least five years that my daily to-do list was completely blank.
Typically, when the weekend arrives and I don’t have to go to work, I still do a lot of stuff. There’s a never-ending list of chores around the house and yard, and the weekend is when our frenetic social life kicks into gear. (Yeah, you’re right. I’m kidding.)
Even when we’re away on vacation, we plan various events and activities. Vacationing is fun, but it’s not doing nothing. To get the most out of our limited vacation opportunities, we cram a lot of things into each trip. Maybe this is why when we get home from vacation, I always feel like I need a vacation.
The reason I was able to spend an entire Saturday doing nothing is because I was sick. Well, I wasn’t sick sick. I wouldn’t have been able to eat those three full meals (or possibly four), plus the requisite snacks in between, if I was flat on my back with the flu. What I had was a nasty cold, with a stuffy head and scratchy throat, and I sneezed and blew my nose every two minutes like clockwork.
So, I felt fairly lousy, although if I had a particular obligation that day I would’ve been able to attend to it, most likely sneezing on other people the whole time. (That’s exactly what folks want this time of year, to get sneezed on, right?) But I didn’t have any pressing obligations that day, just a half-dozen items in the “you should get these things done soon” category. Therefore, when I woke up that Saturday morning, after first blowing my nose for 20 minutes, I said, “I am doing nothing today. I mean: NO. THING.”
Then, just for emphasis, I pretended to press a button on an imaginary 1960s-style desk intercom, and I yelled at it, “Shirley, cancel all my appointments for the rest of the day!” (Which prompted my wife to roll her eyes and mutter, “You really are sick. And I don’t mean your cold.”)
What I did that entire day was exactly nothing. And it was awesome!
I had forgotten how much fun it is to have no responsibilities and do nothing all day. It was like living in a fraternity house at college once again — minus a Springsteen album on the turntable, column speakers that shook the walls, and an assortment of “head shop” paraphernalia. (It’s not what you think. We were just ahead of our time getting on the medical marijuana bandwagon. Really.)
Many of my friends and business associates are beginning to retire. I’ve always worried that I’d be bored to tears if I retire. But now I’m thinking that doing nothing every day might be pretty good after all. Maybe I’ll try it for a month, to see if I like it. (I wonder if they’ll notice at the office that I’ve disappeared for four weeks?) It should be fun, as long as I have three full meals each day (or possibly four), plus the requisite snacks in between.