Monday, July 16, 2018

Make time to waste time...one more thing to add to my to-do list!

It's summertime, and I'm still working, but only one job. This is my time to write. I'm also doing 2 hours of Jazzercise, 6 mornings a week, to try to minimize the damage done to my fitness during the school year when I can only squeeze in 3 hour-long classes a week. And I'm working through my list of besties, having lunch with some, dinner with others; I'm even going out-of-state for a few days to visit a dear friend who moved onto a lakefront place when her husband retired. They just got a pontoon boat, so I'm looking forward to working on my tan as we putt-putt around on her small lake.

But wait! Last week's Sunday paper had a couple of articles that stressed the importance of Mindful Living, and Wasting Time. In short, the first concept was used to prescribe meditation for everyone, as a way to connect with your inner self, and learn to de-stress your life. This made me laugh, since I do like to do yoga, to stay flexible, but I usually do it in between my Jazzercise classes, when my body is all warmed up and more pliant. But meditation? Just sitting still and listening to your own breathing?

My husband has been doing Tai Chi for many years. He's a part of a group that meets weekly, with an instructor to encourage them to improve their form and align their Chi. He used to tell me that I should go with him, to help me relax. He told me that I need to find the quiet place in my mind, and go there when I'm stressed. I told him that in that place in my mind, there's a plate-spinner. Remember them, from the Bozo show? (Chicago-land reference to kids' show that featured circus acts.) The guy would have a bunch of poles lined up, and he'd get a plate spinning on one, then move to the next, then the next. By the time he got the last plate spinning on the last pole, the first one was wobbling, so he'd have to run back to re-spin that one, then the next one, and so on. In other words, there is no quiet place in my mind! Not very encouraging for either Tai Chi or meditation.

The second article was about a prolific writer who is also an astrophysics professor at MIT, and a TED talker. He says that we all need to have downtime: time that we can waste doing nothing. He says we need this for our minds to rest, to rejuvenate, and so that we can reconnect with our own sense of self. Now if this seems like an oxymoron to you, a multi-published professor telling us we need to waste time, I thought so also. And with bills to pay that don't go away just because we ask them to, I'm hard-pressed to be able to justify wasting time that could be used to work.

View from campsite in MN.
View from campsite near Grand Marais.
Of course, this is is why I like to go camping. No vacation last year, since husband was unemployed. None this year, since he's at a new job and hasn't earned enough time yet. So we're carving out a few weekends to drive somewhere and set up our pop-up camper. This is the only time I can ever truly relax. I don't bring my computer with me, since we go so far into the woods that there's no cell phone or wi-fi signals. I can write, if I want to, but my battery runs low easily, and shuts off my laptop without warning. I hate losing a chapter that way! I can't bring the afghans that I work on year-round, since they'd get dirty. I bring my crosswords books, because I can't ever just sit still!  But I come the closest I can ever come to relaxing when I'm camping.

What a relaxing view, right?
How about you? Do you meditate, or waste time? Do you think these are necessary? If so, how do you quiet your mind to get to that point?

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Harlie Williams said...

I waste time watching ID television. Or bad TV as I call it. Or HGTV, just to see how every house looks the same once it has been made over. That said, I visualize how I would have made the house to my taste.

Meditate? Nope. I tried and couldn't get into it.

Have fun at your friend's lake house and yes, I know who Bozo is. :)


Fiona McGier said...

Hey Harlie, when I watch TV, I work on my afghans that I make for other people. So I'm not just "wasting time." Or I do my crosswords, or read the paper. I can't stand just sitting there in front of a TV. Sometimes I'll even file my nails...just to do something!

You watched Bozo? Cool!

Thanks. I'm going to my bestie's house alone. Husband can't take any time off yet. I feel guilty, since he's not going with me. He tells me I'm being foolish and to just have a good time. What a guy!

Tina Donahue said...

I like to read comments on online political articles. Interesting to see how people can be so different about what should be straightforward subjects (eg: everyone having human rights, helping others, being kind, etc. etc.)

Harlie Williams said...


No literally, I just watch television. My hands are not busy. I might pet the dog but that's it. :)