The Art of Doing Nothing

Last Saturday I made a pie. I didn’t have a craving for sugar or anything, I just wanted to bake. My mom came home an hour later, looked at the untouched raspberry pie on the kitchen table and said; “Oh, you’ve made a pie. Again.” “Yes” I answered, which made her ask the simple one-word question “Why”. It made me think. Why did I spend an hour of the day making something as useless as a pie that I didn’t even wish to eat? It was almost like I’ve done nothing.

The next day I met a friend. We have a tendency to always tell each other our weird thoughts and when I told her my not so interesting pie-story she listened with sparkling eyes. My friend had also experienced this, spending a whole day doing nothing. We started to talk and realised how many days we’ve spent doing nothing at all. But what is nothing? It’s possibly the kind of thing many people wouldn’t consider anything of value. Nothing actually worth mentioning while, for instance, talking about your day over a cup of coffee.

Our society is built by overambitious multitaskers. During a regular day we always have somewhere to go, something to do, someone to meet. Our generation has a tendency to plan everything. Things like what university to choose to what colour to paint our nails are all being planned while sitting on the bus or checking Facebook. It feels good to have a mental plan for the future, and that might actually be what keeps us all on track. But always being on track of things is demanding. That’s why it’s good to have a day off from our everyday planning – like a mental vacation. This is necessary in order not to reach a breaking point and have a mental collapse. To let go of everything can be tough but sometimes it happens unconsciously – that’s when you know that you have learned The Art of Doing Nothing.

The Art of Doing Nothing – something often considered as a pointless waste of time. Having a day, as we like to call a cat-day, when we actually do nothing of importance, just like a cat, is probably just as challenging and essential as actually doing something. A cat-day can be as simple as editing pictures from 2004 or colour-coordinating closets, still it’s more demanding than to just sit in front of the TV. Now you’re probably thinking that none of the above-mentioned things are nothing, and they are indeed something. But the Art of Doing Nothing implies spontaneity and doing a thing for no other reason than for the pure pleasure of it.

The Art of Doing Nothing is truly a form of art. To become a Jedi of Doing Nothing we need to conquer the fear of just letting go. We need to take that mental vacation and distance ourselves from our addiction to plan even the most basic things. To master this art requires a lot of experience and practise, but is worth all the pointless raspberry pies in the world.

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