Sometimes, I need a day or two to do nothing — or at least pretty much nothing.
Don’t get me wrong. I would go crazy with nothing on my agenda for weeks on end. I like feeling productive at work, and I need a certain number of items on my “to do” list to check off to feel as if I’m keeping up with my responsibilities at home, as well.
But I really relish the time I can truly call my own — those days when I have no appointments, no responsibilities, no boxes to check on the “to do” list.
Sure, there are always some things I could be doing, but nothing I absolutely have to do — and days like that are way too few and far between.
My wife I and rarely get to experience days like that together, but when we do, we try to make the most of them — or should I say the least of them.
We both have busy, responsible jobs and some days it seems we only see each other coming and going. It’s at times like that when my wife starts talking about getting some “ahhh time.”
For us, that has sometimes meant sitting on a park bench in front of the library in Fredericksburg, reclined on a grassy hill overlooking the LBJ Library in Austin, or sitting under a tree by a hiking trail in Lost Maples State Park, listening to the wind in the trees.
One of our favorite quiet times has involved sitting on the porch of a Hill Country B&B, watching puffy clouds cast moving shadows on the landscape stretching out in front of us.
But “ah moments” don’t all happen outdoors. Some of our best quiet times have involved sitting on our living room couch with the lights down, gazing at flickering candles as classical music or acoustic guitar plays softly on the stereo.
It seems that so much of life these days involves constant activity. If people aren’t working, they’re working hard at playing — always going, always doing.
Life is so much more than a string of lines in a day planner or a full-up social calendar.
Whatever happened to just “being”?
One of the movies my wife and I appreciate most is the 1999 classic “Office Space.” In that film, the main character, Peter Gibbons, finds himself stuck in a monotonous, pointless job at a software company. He sits in a cubicle all day, trying to look busy and answering to eight different bosses regarding seemingly arbitrary company procedures. One day, he decides to simply stop going to work.
He doesn’t really quit; he just stops showing up at the office.
Peter savors his self-imposed day off, and when one of his co-workers asks him the next day what he did with his time, he responds. “I did absolutely nothing — and it was everything that I thought it could be.”
It’s a classic line — and one that my wife and I really identify with.
We’re planning a little vacation this week to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We’ll be headed back to our favorite Hill Country B&B to mark the occasion. During our stay, we plan to get in a little sight-seeing, do a little shopping and have a nice meal or two.
And we’ll also be sure to make some time to do absolutely nothing — to have a few of those special “ah moments.”
It’s what we do best.