Busy Doing Nothing

I have a particular weakness, a form of frustration that I’m very vulnerable to. It’s “active waiting,” and I’ve written about it before. Basically, I tend to get frustrated when I have to spend time doing nothing.

However, I’ve been working on it. Like all flaws, this one is a chance for reflection. Today I was very “busy doing nothing.” I shepherded my children to various events today; events at which I had nothing to do but wait around for them to finish said event. That’s being a parent sometimes!

And yet, despite the hectic schedule today, I found myself surprisingly un-flustered. I chalk it up to two things:

  1. I didn’t try to avoid it. Because of how much I dislike active waiting, I often try to avoid it by grabbing small tasks that I can do along the way. “Gee, maybe if I bring my tablet I can answer some work emails while I’m in the waiting room…” Ugh. That never works well and now I’m also flustered by a different failure. Today, I just said, “I’m going to end up spending a good part of the day in waiting rooms, and that’s fine.” It helped a bunch.
  2. Because I wasn’t trying to avoid it, I got out of my own head a bit and just enjoyed smaller things. I watched people, which I almost always enjoy. I let conversations be struck. I read things I found. It was a nice day.

Sometimes all it takes for joy to leak into your life is for you to not actively insulate against it with an endless array of activities.

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