Elise K. Ackers
The Art of Nothing
Updated: Apr 11, 2018
Last night I did an incredible thing: nothing.
As a self-confessed stress-head, this is quite a note-worthy occasion. I'm the kind of person who is always considering time; how much of it something or someone will use, how much of it has passed, what I can best do with my time...
If I could take a measuring tape to time, I would.
Two weeks ago I slipped whilst on a bush walk and bruised my ribs, and despite the acute pain, I kept going. I still applied adhesive window film to seven windows, built a pallet sofa, painted and attached privacy screens, and hosted two parties. I went to work. I wrote my books. And yes, all of that made the pain worse and lengthened my recovery time. I haven't slept painlessly for a fortnight.
I don't pretend to always make the best decisions. I just have a hard time being idle.
There is always something on. Give me three colourful balls and I will make a clumsy spectacle of myself, but I can juggle life like a tenured circus performer.
I work full time. I write when I can (in the last month I've finished writing two books, submitted a book to publishers, applied for a grant, edited a manuscript, and outlined another work-in-progress) and I've just moved into a new house, so there's lots to be done. I see my family and friends when I can, and of course, I have my husband and fur family - the best time-sucks of my life.
I'm not saying I'm unique in this. We're all busy. I don't have kids and I don't have a particularly big commute to work, so I have more time available to me than others, but I am saying that I don't have an off button. Which is why it was particularly unusual for me to come home yesterday and do what I did.
My husband was out, I had the house to myself. Before I'd even set my bag down I was mentally listing what could be done before it was time to climb
gingerly into bed. But between the front door and the couch, I changed my mind. I just ... sat. I binged on the first season of Younger - one episode after the next - even after my husband came home to find me still in my work clothes in the same position I'd fallen in hours earlier. I skipped dinner. I didn't close the blinds. I didn't even turn the lights on, so I was sitting in the dark. Hell, I'm lucky my respiratory system is a sub-conscious function!
I can honestly say, that was the absolute best use of my time in that moment.
Things didn't get done. They were delayed a day and the world didn't end. I actually watched the TV instead of glancing at it between laptop tasks. It was self-indulgent and it was perfect.
Some of you may be reading this post and thinking, "So what?", but I'm celebrating. It might be weeks or months before I do this again and I want to mark the moment so that one day in the future, I can look back and remind myself that the world didn't end when I stopped blurring around the edges.
Some of us wear our busy-ness like a badge of honour and I'm not saying that's wrong, but wow, it felt good to just put everything down for a night.
Still waiting on that human cloning technology. It should be any day now.