04 April 2015
D Is For Doing Nothing
During April, we're participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays), we’ll be doing an alphabet themed post starting with “A is for Adventurous” and ending with “Z is for Zinc”. We've got a theme for every letter sorted except for Y. If you have any ideas for the letter Y, please leave a comment or email.
I’m not sure what happened, but I think we’ve turned into old, retired folk with nothing but time on their hands who spend their days doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love those lazy days where you putter about and do absolutely nothing. But usually those are scattered few and far between among the majority of days when all you do is something, whether it be work, running errands, doing household chores or picking up take-away for dinner because you’re simply too exhausted from doing something, more something and even more something every single day.
We’re so lucky to be able to have this time to travel around and do nothing. While we may have more than a few gray hairs on our heads (or at least I do, Scott shaves his head), we’re not quite at that age where it seem socially acceptable to do nothing. To have earned the right to spend hours puttering around, to have the time to read all of the books you want, to not set an alarm and sleep in, take up a new hobby etc.. Sure we worked hard and saved our money and are able to do nothing for a few years (which hopefully we can stretch into more), but I still feel guilty every time we do nothing.
A few weeks ago, we were at one of those roadside stands selling fruits, vegetable and other bits and bobs. Scott and I spent what seemed like a really long time looking at every single jar of homemade jelly in search of garlic jelly. We picked up each jar, looked at the labels, showed them to each other and talked about the merits of adding rhubarb to jelly versus guava. We never did find a jar of garlic jelly. But that’s okay, we have nothing but time on our hands to do nothing and find that elusive jar. (If you’ve never had garlic jelly, it is fantastic on toast. We first discovered its wonders at a wonderful café in Astoria, Oregon in the 90s and we’ve been looking for it ever since.)
Camping down in Florida we ran into millions of retired snowbirds doing nothing. We’d chat to them, they’d have a look at us and ask us how long we were on vacation for. We’d say, “We’re not sure. We’ve been travelling around since the middle of October and hoping to find a sailboat to live on and travel around some more.” And then you could see them eye us up and try to figure out how old we were and how it was possible that we could already be doing nothing at our age. Granted, we’re middle-aged, but to your average 70-year old, we seem like new born puppies who should be carded every time they try to buy a lottery ticket. The usual responses run from, “Wow, you look young to be retired already,” “You must have a lot of money in the bank,” and the more pointed, “Must be nice to be you.” Occasionally, we get folks who say that they wish they had done what we’re doing – traveling now while we’re young enough and healthy enough to enjoy it. They’re the ones we can really relate to. We’ve seen how fleeting health can be and how many people work to the bitter end only to be too tired and worn out to enjoy those final years.
We count our lucky stars every single day – after all, we won the “genetic lottery” (in terms of being born in the States and growing up in middle-class families with all of the opportunities that afforded us), have had amazing career opportunities which took us to Scotland and New Zealand and have been able to save our pennies despite the financial crises. Not everyone can be so lucky to be in what must be the top 1% of the world’s population.
By 1%, I don't mean those fabulously wealthy celebrities you see on television or glossy magazines. If you think about the vastness of the world and how many people there are, it probably is only a teeny-tiny slice of the world's population who are able to go to bed each night with shelter over their heads and full bellies (sometimes too full) and wake the next morning safe and secure. And any even tinier percentage who can also do nothing. Whatever you want to call it – lucky stars, blessings, karma – we’re thankful to have this incredible opportunity to do nothing.
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