The Art of Doing Nothing

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October 24th 2014
Published: October 24th 2014
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The Art of Doing Nothing

I write this from a suede couch in Brisbane which I'm pretty sure now has an imprint of my body. My friend Eoin has been putting me up for the past week or so. This week has been a fabulous summation of...nothing. Pure, unadulterated nothingness. And it's been fantastic.

Erica and I left Byron and headed to Nimbin. We booked a yurt in a hostel and had visions of wearing tie die and bonding with hippies and singing kum ba ya around a fire in this reportedly free loving, marajuana promoting town.

What we arrived to instead was a dirty, scary town, where jobless and homeless try to sell fake pot cookies, and store fronts try to make money on overpriced hemp clothing and marajuana promo posters. It's a sad sad place, wrought with that feeling of creepy crawlers on your neck, and a palpable sense of depravity and loss of potential. We stayed for about two hours, had the slowest possible lunch at a cafe while the stoned workers tried to figure out how to warm up some premade soup, and with a wordless glance between the two of us, we got the hell out of Nimbin and just swallowed the hostel cost. On to Brisbane we went.

It was good to have Erica for a few more days. We had a lot of laughs, met up with the male models on the beach and realized pretty really isn't everything. I shaved her head, and her and Eoin had nightly competitions of who could provide the most crass humor. We said goodbye in the most epic fashion as she ran from the car in the middle of the highway, spilled the beet root she had boiled in the morning all over the street, and still ultimately missed her bus. She fortunately finagled another way out that evening, and I met up with her a couple days later to give her a bag of the things she left behind. I don't think our trip could have ended any differently. Very apr├Ęs po.

So my time in Brisbane has been... Well it just has been. I take each day as it comes, and do whatever feels right. I joined a gym for a week and can barely walk because I haven't lifted weights in months. I have lazy cups of instant coffee in the morning and I make dinner at night with what craziness we have in the pantry. I do laundry and take naps and plan my trips. I watch Suits marathons on TV for hours. The past few days I have had a bit of a cold and haven't had any motivation to leave the apartment. So I haven't.

I know this sounds funny to blog about, but doing nothing for me is actually a big something. I have lived the last 5 years in a work hard/play hard environment, and I scheduled every second of my free time for errands, fun, family and friends. A few hours on the couch was always followed by an intense guilt about how I was "wasting" time. If I watched TV, I felt guilty that I wasn't studying. Or catching up on world news. Or doing the dishes in the sink. Nothing always meant negative.

But I often learned the hard way that forcing "something" isn't productive. I left my phone three times in the grocery store when I tried to shop after overnight call shifts. I'd book flights on the wrong days trying to cram it in between cases in the OR. I would have very distracted conversations with loved ones as I tried to do three different things at the same time. All in the name of "doing something."

So it's not that this week of nothing is that big of a deal. And it's not something I should really celebrate. What I do want to celebrate is the fact that I am GUILT FREE. I put no expectations on myself. I do what I feel like doing in the morning. And whatever that is, that's what the day was supposed to be.

And I am finding pleasure in small things I would have disregarded in the past. I love the way clean clothes smell after they have dried in the sun. I had a real cup of coffee the other day and almost fainted from pleasure. I can still taste the espresso and feel the froth on my lips. I have undistracted conversations with loved ones and truly get to catch up.

Now, I realize this is semi obnoxious since it is rare that people ever are afforded the opportunity to do nothing. And really right now I am taking a vacation from my vacation. Fully obnoxious. But this is a big, big step for me.

So excuse me. I think the Suits finale may be on ...


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