Relaxing over break: Trying to do nothing takes everything


Over this last winter break, I set but one goal for myself: put a day aside in which I do nothing. On the surface, this sounds like a laughable, pathetic and simple goal, and in many ways it is. But in another, more meaningful way, it isn’t. Though most of my days are spent doing nothing, it isn’t a pure and blissful nothing, but a stressful and unproductive nothing. The usual nothingness is bundle wrapped in the sheets of attempted and failed tasks, forgotten errands and confused staring.

This break would be different, however, or so I thought. I led myself to believe this during the first hours upon release from school, in which I thought “during this break, I will set aside a day in which nothing is done.” While I had done nothing of note that particular day, or the days preceding it, having a designated “day of nothing” gave the nothing an allure, a feeling of achievement.

Additionally, this break would be the best possible time to have a day of nothing due to my joblessness. Before the break, I worked about thirty hours a week with the added stress of school.There was no time for nothing. Suddenly, there was no more job. With this block of a few guilt-free unemployed weeks, and the small amount of savings from said job keeping my head above the poverty line, the conditions were perfect for my lazy dream.

Immediately though, the objective was bogged down by logistics and specifics, as most are after their brief moment of glittering conception. I knew I had set aside many holiday travel days, as mentioned earlier, all by car, and had to rule those right out. That eliminated about six days from the twenty four. There were eighteen potential days of nothing remaining.

Next to be eliminated were the two holidays, Christmas Day and New Years Eve. Christmas was slated to be spent with my father and step cousins, and New Year’s Eve could not possibly be spent doing nothing, otherwise I would be trapped by the belittling thoughts of “you are doing nothing on New Year’s Eve,” and would then spiral into a depression, rendering myself useless for the remainder of break, thereby resigning myself to doing nothing for its remainder, but not a nothing by my choosing, which was the goal. So those two days were no good either. There were now sixteen left.

After the elimination round, I found no more obstacles in my path. Sixteen days are a lot, more than enough time to accomplish nothing. I had accomplished more than that in less time before, there was nothing holding me back from nothing now.

The break began, I drove, driving from Point A to Point B, and then later on to Point C. In between the drives to these points I visited with family and friends, fielded questions from step relatives at holiday gatherings (“Who are you again?”), and ate fast food in five different states. The time was flying by, and before I knew it I was about two weeks into the break. I had forgotten about the goal for a few days, thus had accordingly not yet accomplished it.

Since this revelation came roughly around the time of New Year’s, when people all over the world put forth goals for the future, I was adamant that this mission not fall into New Year’s obscurity like the rest of them. I would have a day of nothing, even if it killed me.

At that point, there was but a week of break left. Then came the horrifying realization: I had not registered for classes. With that in mind, there goes another day, thrown away into the receptacle of productivity, in which I would be finding classes, forging signatures, and renting textbooks.

There were only three days left now, three days left to do nothing. When I realized this, I raised the white flag. I had to accept that there would not be a day of nothing over my break, three days is hardly enough time to have one; having a day of nothing requires a day before it to set up the day of nothing, the day after requires a “clean up”, a day in which all of the aspects of your life that have suffered as a result of the day of nothing, must be bound back together.

Due to this, I have decided to move the day of nothing to the first day of the semester in which I will forgo attending class. This will start me off the semester on the right foot, filled with rest, completely recharged and no longer chasing my day of nothing. While to the amateur, it may seem easy to write off a day to nothing and to practice it but it is actually an enormous drain, both emotionally and physically. The entirety of the break was spent being taunted by a simple goal dangling over my head just out of reach. Just simple enough to warrant the label of a “simple goal”, not simple enough to accomplish.


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