Sunday, May 12, 2013

Doing Nothing

isn't as easy as it sounds.

Let me back up.

We went to my folks house for Mother's Day and they wanted to keep the kids so we could get a break for the evening. Now, we all know how great it is to be a parent and how the sleepless nights are always worth it and the dirty diapers smell sweet 'cause it's from your flesh and blood, the apples of your eye and all that crap.

But what they don't tell you about being a parent is that your choice of activity in any given moment is limited.


Your attention is constantly needed, your care constantly given, your answers provided as fast as you can make your battered brain respond. The time you have, as a parent, to spend doing things of your choice (ie not changing dirty diapers, mediating, defusing, redirecting, correcting, praising, encouraging, feeding, potty training, reading aloud, rough housing, cleaning house, cooking, cleaning up "accidents," etc.) is, as I said, limited.

What you most want is time to breathe. A few hours to just do whatever you want to do. Or a few hours to just do nothing.

Let me clarify: by nothing I don't mean reading or watching television or surfing the internet. I don't mean playing guitar, writing a song or an essay or blog post. I don't mean sleeping or meditating. I mean literally nothing.

After we left the kids and my folks, we got home and I was filled with desire for nothing, nothingness, oblivion. But I wasn't tired enough or drowsy enough to sleep.

I sat on the couch for a while and listened to myself breathe. I said, "Right now I feel free. I want to maintain this feeling. I want to feel free to do nothing, feel free to play guitar, feel free to cut the grass, feel free to go outside and smoke a cigarette."

So I cut the grass.

It seems that true, honest to goodness nothingness, inactivity, is only tolerable to me when I'm sleeping.