How do you feel in silence? When there are neither visual nor hearable distractions? No impulses whatsoever to direct your thoughts in a particular path.
Does that make you feel relaxed? Do you feel at ease in such a peaceful surrounding? Most people would feel calm for a minute or two and then feel leaning towards anxiety or stress perhaps.
How we feel
We, humans of the modern times, are not used anymore to being idle. Idling around has become the essence of anti-social behavior. But it’s not counter-productive. It’s merely not productive. Beyond our job, we have no mandate to be busy. Being busy is not the new cool.
I wonder why we feel such an urge to be productive. Why do we want to produce some kind of output? Are we alive just to transform our time into a product? And if someone does not produce, they are lazy.
I feel that in my own lifestyle. Most of the time I am just buzzing around doing something. I never considered myself to be restless, but then if I look at my days in a quantified way, there are only tiny segments of taking breaks and those are already occupied for eating.
What are we chasing? Certainly, we all have our work at home and at the job, but isn’t the day longer than that? And if it was longer, would we end up in just using more hours buzzing around and tackling tasks?
Life like a game?
Are you familiar with The Sims? It’s a video game franchise, by Will Wright, which simulates the life of people. In it you can control the life of your characters, to make sure they are healthy, happy, meet their special someone and climb up the career ladder.
Gauges help you to understand the needs of your Sims. If the hungry bar goes red, you make them prepare food and have a meal. Energy bar goes low? You send them to bed to sleep and recharge. If they are too tired to make food, but they are still hungry, you order food or have someone else prepare a larger meal.
As a player, you need to make sure all gauges stay green, and ultimately, your Sims survive. You win at life. But then, do you know what does not happen in The Sims? It never happens that they are just standing around. Even when they are playing a video game within the video game, they do this to charge their entertainment levels. Idling is just not in their program. I suppose you could consider it a game mechanic flaw but then, maybe it is actually a really well-done replication of human behavior?
Tolerate and accept idleness
I don’t want to lecture you. The only thing I want to pass on to you now is the following. Don’t be afraid of silence. Don’t be disturbed by idleness. And don’t feel such a strong need to be active. If you want to call it like that, don’t feel bad for being lazy.
Perhaps it’s just fine to have a mixed day between not doing anything and not ever resting. Embrace those moments and try to charge up. Even if you have not a single thought in your idleness, that’s just your body telling you to take a quick break. And that’s ok and necessary for your body to work. You deserve that. It’s not being lazy.
What do you think? Do silent moments give you an awkward feeling? Do you try not to have a downtime? I’d love to hear what you think. Feel invited to drop your thoughts below in the comment section!
Photo credit: Katelyn Fay / Aaron Parecki / Erik bij de Vaate