How to (not) do nothing

Every once in a while Luc and I have an evening–or better yet an entire Saturday or Sunday–with nothing scheduled.

No kung fu. No baseball or hockey. No swimming or piano lessons.

No book club for me. No beer club for Luc.

No appointments, family engagements, neighbourhood get-togethers, recitals, birthday parties, drop-offs, pick-ups or errands.

We smile at each other. We sigh. “Ah!” we say in unison. “Let’s enjoy this! Let’s relish it! Let’s just do NOTHING!”

I’m not saying we’re experts or anything, but over our 17-year marriage, we’ve learned some very enlightening things about relationships and communication. One of which is “When you are both in total agreement in a particular situation, chances are you aren’t.”

This is what Luc means when he says “Let’s do nothing”:

“Let’s do nothing.”

This is what I mean when I say “Let’s do nothing”:

“Let’s do SOMETHING!”

For me, having a great swath of free time on the weekend (or even just a few free hours on a random Tuesday night) means the opportunity to tackle all of those household projects that just keep getting put on hold because we never have time to get around to them. You know, the decluttering of the basement. Or the reorg of the garage. Or at least the cleaning of the bathrooms.

Or if that’s too ambitious, there’s always stuff to pick up. Put away. Tidy.

Even if there’s absolutely nothing that NEEDS to get done (like that’s ever happened), I’ll putter. Move things around. Straighten piles. Fluff.

Drives Luc crazy.

Sometimes when we have these pockets of nothingness, Luc can actually convince me to JUST SIT STILL long enough to watch a movie together (which is about as far as his definition of “doing nothing” will stretch). But even so, chances are I’ll be simultaneously flipping through a magazine I haven’t had the chance to read, folding a few loads of laundry or balancing the budget.

I’ve tried to do nothing. I mean consiously sat down and tried NOT TO DO ANYTHING. But then I find my brain goes into overdrive and I start analyzing the fact that by trying to do nothing I’m actually doing something so really this is all just beside the point and I might as well get up and go do something else…

I’m pretty sure we’re free tomorrow night. A few free hours we can both enjoy and relish.

If I know Luc, he’ll be happy to do nothing.

And if he knows me, I’ll be doing…something.

Check out Luc’s thoughts on how to do nothing.


6 thoughts on “How to (not) do nothing

  1. Luc says:

    Nothing is good. Nothing is Zen. Be cool.

  2. Miriam says:

    I can’t do nothing either. And I have a very hard time letting my husband do nothing 🙂 He did clean the garage yesterday, the whole thing, after I mentioned it might be nice… I was pretty thrilled.

  3. Lynn says:

    OMG, word to this! I actually consider it a major failing that I am completely incapable of just sitting and relaxing, I always have to be doing SOMETHING – but better to just embrace your faults, I guess :). I absolutely cannot stand being sick, like really lie-on-the-couch-groaning sick, because all I can think about is all the stuff I should be doing. Even lying around to get well is IMPOSSIBLE.

    • Exactly why I’ll never take up meditation! And I’m with you on the being sick part. I had minor surgery a few weeks ago and was forced to stay on the couch for three days. For the first day I didn’t care, but as of Day Two I was going nuts! Thank god for Netflix! (again…doing SOMETHING!)

  4. Anne Lene says:

    How this sound like me, incapable of doing nothing! The only time I can sit still, is while reading a book (or watch tv), but that’s really not doing nothing is it? But it’s the closest I get 😉

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