Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Joys of Doing Nothing

     I know we all urge one another to volunteer in retirement, or take a part-time job, or attend a class, travel to an exotic locale, babysit the grandchildren -- to do something "meaningful." And I'm on board with that whole philosophy. For the most part.

     But sometimes, just sometimes, it's nice to relax and do . . . absolutely nothing.

     The other day we had some family visiting -- they stayed overnight on their way home from western Pennsylvania to Massachusetts. There was talk of taking a bike ride, hiking up at the park, or walking into town to go to the movies. But we ended up just sitting in the living room and gossiping . . . talking and catching up on news from one family member or another. The big event of the day was going out for pizza.

Mostly, I've been staring out the window
     Yesterday, after they left, I puttered around the yard for an hour or so -- which is a lot for me, since our yard is about 1/16th of an acre. Then I came in to shower, and I finished reading my book . . . leading up to the main event of the day, for me, which was driving over to the library to drop off the book and pick up a new one.

     As you might imagine, I was pretty exhausted after trekking across town to the library. So I watched two episodes of Boardwalk Empire -- which I've been kind of binge watching since I found it on amazon prime. If you didn't see the show when it was originally on HBO, I highly recommend it -- but only to people who can take a little nudity and a lot of violence. (B isn't interested.) Or to put in another way: If you liked Breaking Bad, I think you'd like Boardwalk Empire.

     Oh wait. I forgot my main productive activity from yesterday. I did a load of laundry. You see? Sometimes I underestimate myself.

     But on a more serious note, I did one other thing: We talked to our daughter in North Carolina and our son in South Carolina. Both are getting lots of rain and a little wind. But they're both surviving Florence with no damage.

     So anyway . . . today? I'm on my second cup of coffee, with plans to start reading my new book. And while I admit I've been lazy for the past few days, today I have an excuse. We're expecting a delivery, sometime around mid-day. Well, I can't very well go out and do anything "meaningful" because my job is now to sit around the house and do nothing . . . wait for an important rendezvous.

     Okay, next week B and I will start teaching our class at the local Center for Learning in Retirement. I'm joining a book club. And B and I have signed up for our next round of dance lessons, which begin on Wednesday.

     But in the meantime, I'll be searching for meaning while sitting in a chair, or poking around the backyard. Or "strolling" along the boardwalk of Atlantic City.

18 comments:

Cindi said...

There's a name for what you may think you have discovered. Its called 'La Dolce Far Niente'. That's Italian for 'The sweetness of doing nothing' and we Italians have been doing this for centuries. So much so, that we have mastered it to an art form.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-happiness-rx/201409/the-art-doing-nothing

Unlike Americans who sit around, watch football TV games and drink cases of beer (and get fat), we Italians have learned 'less is more' and we stop to smell the roses, have a cup of espresso and take some of those roses home to enjoy. Glad you got the 'niente' feeling. Learn to master it and enjoy your life.

Terra said...

"La Dolce Far Niente", I like that concept and since being retired it suits me very well. When it works out for me, I like to have a day each week when I don't drive anywhere and stay home and mellow out, of course taking Bounce for his two daily walks. I think you have the right idea.

Linda Myers said...

I am hoping to have your kind of retirement sometime. Right now I am feeling too busy.

DJan said...

I love sitting around and enjoying a good book, but I get plenty of exercise every day of the week except Sunday, my day off. I smiled at your busy schedule these past few days. Sounds wonderful! :-)

Retirement Confidential said...

That sounds perfect.























Savoring Sixty said...

Those are our plans for Sunday and I can't wait! Sounds like a great day!

Olga Hebert said...

We all need days like that sometimes.

retirementreflections said...

I love that I now have guilt-free "doing nothing" times. I enjoy them much more than I ever realized I would!

Barbara said...

My retirement it's kind of like that. Either working my fingers to the Bone at some meaningful Hobby or I'm stuck to my easy chair surrounded by interesting projects on the floor.

Celia said...

My family with all the (9) grandkids went away for a week and I got to kick back at home and do nothing. I loved it.

Rebecca Olkowski said...

It sounds pretty blissful to me. It actually sounds like you did a lot but didn't have to stress about it.

Still the Lucky Few said...

Sounds like a perfect day! Doing nothing is a learned skill, and it seems to be a vanishing one! Young people today can't stand to do nothing—hence the devotion to their smart phones!

Mona McGinnis said...

Yeah for doing "nothing". I've come to believe that there is no "nothing" - sitting quietly reflecting or resting, it's all something. A line from The Color Purple, something to the effect of - sometimes I set and think and sometimes I just set. I've always loved that line.

gigihawaii said...

I like to listen to classical music.

Meryl Baer said...

A great plus of retirement - 'down time'. No guilt. Don't do it often, but love it when I do.

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Teresita Fernandez said...

I love days like that! Sometimes all I want to do is lay around and do not much of anything but nap and read a book! Good for you.

Salvador Ortega said...

Hanging out in the default mode network has it's good and bad aspects. It allows creativity, but as they say- the idle mind is the devil's playground (BTW not just a puritan concept- the Spanish version is la ociosidad es la madre de todos los vicios).