Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The fine art of doing nothing.

illustration sourced from http://blog.prospect.org

Mum said to me a number of weeks ago that I'm quite lucky in as much as I have nothing I have to do right now. At the time, I thought she was nuts (sorry mum, you know it takes a while for me to catch on)... I mean, sure, I wasn't doing a course, but I have this PhD to prepare for and some kind of publishing to achieve, and then there is my novel - that novel I worked my arse off (Oh, I wish it was that simple!) to finish before Christmas.I've been living in a state of panic for the past few weeks. It's quiet panic, you wouldn't notice it if you just looked at me casually, but it's there simmering under the surface, and occasionally bubbling over when I think no one is looking too closely.

So, yeah, Panicstations'R'Us set up camp in the pit of my stomach and have been partying on like it's 1999 ever since.

Last night I went to bed at 1am, and I didn't get up again until 11.45am, and even then I could have slept another three or four hours at least. That, right there, is not a good sign. It's a sign that I'm slipping into that old familiar rabbit hole with the black dog.

Something did occur to me last night, though...

I really don't have to be doing anything right now. There really isn't any kind of deadline on me. All this angst is really unnecessary. It's that other lesson mum is always reminding me of, "It's never too late." I'm not going to run out of time to get published, or to do my PhD. You don't run out of time until you die. All this angst, however, could be the death of me!

I suffer a lot of anxiety about not achieving - not being seen to be doing, to be more specific. It's an ego thing, a self-esteem thing. I love to Wow! people. I'm a bit hooked on, "I don't know how you do it!"  Kind of explains the four kids and the two Masters degrees (and the need to constantly refer back to the four kids and the two Masters degrees).

But now I'm thinking. What if I purposely did nothing. What if I actively practiced the fine art of doing nothing - well, okay, maybe not absolutely nothing, but what if I actively didn't try to achieve anything concrete for a while. What if I just read about writing, and read writing, and went to a few events and seminars and workshops and didn't think about getting published just yet? What if I just spent some time with my baby and enjoyed him while he can still be called a baby?

That wouldn't be the death of me, and maybe it would make it easier for me to achieve those things I want to achieve down the track? I'm going to try achieving nothing for a while - actively achieving nothing (as opposed to the achieving nothing that naturally occurs when I'm in a constant state of panic induced apathy).

1 comment:

√Ěr said...

Yes! Good on you! :)'Smelling roses...' comes to mind...:)