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“Sometimes you need to do nothing.”

By October 14, 2011asides, misc.

I on a plane right now.
(Note, I wrote this several months ago, and didn’t finish it on that plane. )

I could be sleeping, but I’m not.. And I think I know why.

I’ve been in California all week on business, and that has meant a few things. It’s time for me to really focus on my job during the days, enjoy the time with my other remote co-workers (one of which is my brother, so that’s cool) but it also means after work hours that aren’t filled with parental duties.. FREE TIME.

So, back to the reason I’m not asleep. I’m pretty sure that I don’t know, and have never known, how to have free time. Even when I’m not out of town, and I don’t have a slot of time scheduled with something, I still have a list of things in my head, ready to fill that time. For instance, this plane right from San Francisco to Atlanta is almost 4 hours long, and I’ve spent all but 10 minutes on a computer. I’ve accomplished a lot so far on this flight.. I wrote a short song, recorded several parts on my iPad, spent a couple of hours programming and learning some development stuff that I’d been putting off, and now.. I’m writing a blog post.

I remember when I was a kid, probably 6 or 7, asking my mom, over and over, “what can we do? I’m bored” She gently replied.. “Sometimes you need to do nothing.”  She’s completely right, of course.. but I have a pretty hard time with that.

I’ve tried to figure out why that is. I think it’s that I’ve been given a thirst for learning and making. That thirst is stronger than my thirst for rest (after a cup of coffee of course), and I’m ok with that.

Even though I have moments where I think “I really wish I could just sit down and do nothing”, the majority of the time, I’m completely excited by the next item on my backlog of “stuff I want to get to..”. As with all things, I think there’s just a balance that has to be found, and I constantly have to find that within myself.

In one of my favorite movies, a character says “It’s amazing how productive ‘doing nothing’ can be.”

It’s true.  There’s a balance to be found, between sprinting and resting, between building and standing back to look at progress.