It is impossible to enjoy idling thoroughly unless one has plenty of work to do.
~Jerome K. Jerome
I’m sitting here with nothing to do. And it’s unnerving.
I have been moving at the speed of a neutrino lately (if you don’t know what a neutrino is, you should look it up; very interesting stuff). Preparing SLAM poems, performing SLAM poems, working on my one-act play, completing my phenomenology reading, completing my social psychology reading, filling out applications. I know: you’re already frozen with amazement and thoroughly impressed with all that I have to do.
But now, sitting within this halo of nothing to do, I feel hollow inside, undirected. Purposeless.
That’s why I decided to write another post. I figured you must have nothing to do if you’re reading this, so we could revel in the same missing drive together. Misery does in fact love company.
However, this lull in my life got me thinking—an activity more of the population should consider attempting—and I wondered what it would be like to have nothing to do. And I mean nothing. Everything that I could possibly need to survive would simply be handed to me. No need to go out and get food. No need to do any homework. No need to wash my socks.
It would be like a high school summer for a wealthy kid with a maid. And when you think about it, life doesn’t sound too bad. As much food as I want to eat. As many video games as I want to play. Basketball, hanging with friends, girls, ice cream. Probably close to that order, too.
But I can only imagine that after 72 hours of this—oh who am I kidding—after 72 weeks of this, I would probably get bored, even apathetic. And at that point I would beg to have something to do. In fact, when my mom asks, “Are you bored? Because I have a little job for you” I might not, for the first time in my life, feign illness and hide in my closet.
We all need responsibilities. Purpose. If we don’t have that, we would just wallow around, unhappy, disgusted with ourselves. We need to have something we need to do. It puts us in a direction, sets us toward a goal. Humanity consists of goal-oriented, future seeking animals. To deny us responsibilities is to deny us the possibility of affecting the world. That’s why Bill Murray is so depressed in Groundhog Day (if you haven’t seen that movie, stop reading and immediately go on Netflix and order it).
But we all need breaks now and then even if we’re not used to them. So wish me luck as I dip my toe into this thing called freedom-of-responsibilities. Let’s just hope I choose to come out when I’m called back to shore.