How do you fill your hours and days? For many, it just happens; they don’t need to really think about what they’re going to do because they have so much to do. People who have had jobs and other pursuits for many years often look forward to times when they can pull back on the throttle a little, when the demands on their time recede and they have some breathing space. However, time off is really “time on” something else. As the hours go by, you have to fill them with something—because there’s no such thing as doing nothing. You continue to exist. You think, you breathe, and time goes by. You can make your time “mindless” and force feed inane TV (of which I’m a fan on occasion), but ultimately your mind will rebel and desire something more substantial.
Do you want to go out and play?!
As adults, our time for playing is usually not as spontaneous as that. Our playtime is often highly scheduled, goal-oriented, competitive, or in many cases, non-existent. We may have hobbies, activities we do for relaxation, or things we do to pass the time, but how much of it is fun? How much of it is carefree? How often is it spontaneous?
As adults in Western society, we have many expectations placed on us. We’re expected to go to work, pay our bills, raise our children; more fundamentally, we’re expected to act “responsibly.”
There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but for many, this sense of responsibility displaces any sense of fun we had. We may occasionally let our hair down in a card game with friends or at the beach on vacation, but is fun and playing an essential part of our lives? Is it part of who we are?
True art cannot be judged; it exists as a form of expression.
We each have things we do to express ourselves—a creative outlet. Maybe we want people to like what we do; maybe we will never share it with anyone else.
Some eventually seek opinions about their expressions. When that line is crossed, our expressions become something else: something more formal, something owned by others as well as ourselves.
When I use the word expressions here, I’m referring broadly to those activities we engage in that help us express something in ourselves. Art falls into this category, but it also might be music, writing, or any form of artistic endeavor. It also might be a physical expression. Dance is a more obvious example, but sports and other physical activities might be expressions too. Surfing lends itself well to expression. It might also be the way we present ourselves, our personality, or our fashion. There are many ways we can express ourselves.
Every once in a while, a voice inside me says, “I’m done.” I’ve used up all my energy and concentration, and I need some downtime. I need to spend some quality time doing nothing.
All of us need downtime—some need less than others and some seem to need way more than others. Why is this? One of the reasons might be what people do when they’re doing nothing. Some people waste their time when they’re wasting their time; and end up needing more time to waste (stay with me here).