I strive to do less. Can this be me talking? I never thought I would hear those words come from my lips. I’m the epitome of the type A personality. I have to be creating, achieving or embarking on something at any moment in time or I feel lazy and time negligent. I am always striving towards something far in the future that I need to have, and only my hard work will bring it to me.
I have distant memories of sitting in my middle school classroom, drowning in a messy cry. Tears have dribbled down onto my face, shirt, corduroy pants (why, I don’t know) and have even created a slipping hazard in the space around me. Did someone die? No, I was lucky never to experience a close death in childhood. The tragedy was an item I was holding clenched in my grief stricken fist: My final paper for French class with a C marked on top which would serve as my entire grade for the trimester. C meant adequate (barely), which was an unspeakable atrocity in my universe.
So here I sit in life with my plate full and mountains of obligations before me. I have dust on the floors, laundry to clean, dishes that have done there fare share of soaking and a dog with a leash in her mouth waiting to be walked. I have a master’s degree thesis with notes scrawled in piles of notebooks that are pleading for organization. I have social media for my business that needs updating. I have a paid gym membership waiting to be used.
So with all these obligations before me, what am I asking myself to do? The answer, for me, is difficult to say. Yet here I say it: I strive to do absolutely nothing.
I’m not doing this out of preference. This has to do with some health challenges that have come up. There was a series of deaths in my life in the last couple of years, along with a busy schedule, crazy partying neighbors and a little too much coffee, which created high levels of stress and shot my adrenals. Now my adrenals are sub-par during the day and fighting my ability to sleep at night. I did the damage to myself. Now I need to create healing and my body is screaming at me to rest.
So I sit here in uncharted territory. I feel my body lie into the couch and I ponder what nothingness should feel like. I start reading a book but quickly drift away by making a to-do list in my head. No, that’s not it. I pop in a yoga and meditation DVD, but start planning on how to excel on my thesis while losing this valuable time. Ok, that didn’t work.
Then it hits me. You don’t just achieve things by doing. Sometimes you can gain the most just by being. I’ve never given myself a chance to “just be” in my life. Heck, I’m the person who went up to my kindergarten teacher to complain that there was too much coloring and not enough reading instruction. What will I gain by taking time for myself to get healthy? I don’t know yet. I imagine I will learn things about myself I never knew. At the very least, I will learn the art of doing nothing, which I currently score a C, at best, in my current ability.
And what about my thesis? Well, I may get a C on that too…or an A. Who knows? Because I’m old enough to know a grade doesn’t define me, one achievement doesn’t encompass all of who I am and that you can control your effort but not the results. I’m also starting to become aware that there are surprises found in silence. I’m going to have to let that be enough.
So right now I am nothing more than enough. Yes in this moment I’m just purely adequate and average. And in about a minute I will be closing my computer to do nothing. To tell you the truth, that feels pretty good.