What would you do if you had nothing to do?

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”

– John Lennon (and many others before him)

We are all so busy but how much of that busy is really living? How much is just a distraction from what is really going on? How much of what we do is really necessary? We have all of these things that we feel like we have to do but what if it wasn’t true?

I’ve become fond of saying that there are only three things we have to do everyday: eat, sleep and shit. I realize that there is plenty wrong with that statement. It’s more of a mantra than a biological fact. I use this somewhat vulgar expression to shock me back into the present moment. Basically, as long as I’m not so tired I can’t stand up, as long as I’m not so hungry I can’t move, as long as my bowels aren’t ready to explode… everything else can wait.

People are so fond of schedules and making plans but is it really because we have so much to do that we would never get it done if we didn’t have a schedule or a plan? Or is it because we are so afraid of what we would do if we had nothing to do?

Don’t get me wrong, I love being busy. I miss how busy I was this past summer. I loved always having something to do. Living was easier even though the things I was doing were hard. Even though I had no time for friends, family, music or home I felt like what I was doing was life affirming. I was living.

But that’s over now. Yesterday I had no plans. There was nothing I had to do. There were still lots and lots of things I could do, but beyond eat, sleep and shit; nothing I had to do.

I spent a lot of time in quiet contemplation waiting for inspiration to strike. I had very little contact with the outside world. It was just me and my feelings. I did cry a little, I laughed a little but nothing that really moved me to action. I wasn’t bored exactly. I wasn’t lonely. I wasn’t anxious or eager or frustrated or angry or in love. I was just content.

I’m sure for many that sounds wonderful. To me it sounds like Death.

So I shook hands with Death.  I said, “Pleased to meet you.” We shared a beer and watched a movie until I was too tired to stay awake. When I woke this morning I could still smell the scent of his cologne but he was gone.

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