A Lesson in Idleness

I didn’t think I’d actually get here. Each time I thought to write a blog post I was either exhausted from working a long day, exhausted from the news, exhausted from nothing really. Why was I so tired? And then I got sick and that created a couple weeks of new uncertainties. I am happy to report I am healing and being closely monitored by research doctors at Mt. Sinai. Yes, I had a presumed case of COVID-19 but I am on the mend. And that’s not what this post is about. There is plenty to read about the outbreak and a lot from people who know a lot more than I do. Although, it does seem like none of us know at times, doesn’t it?

I am a do-er. I’ve written about it on here multiple times. How I get everything into a day, a week, a month. I like to be productive! I like to push my life along. I like to just DO. See people, see things, go go go. Sometimes to the point of total exhaustion. Needless to say, I am (or was?) a great match for New York City. It was all about movement. But now with New York on PAUSE and most of us following the quarantine rules I’ve been faced with one of my greatest challenges: simply just being.

How does a do-er exist with not much to do? Sure I could keep cleaning, pick-up a new hobby, explore my bookshelf once again but what I found was this… my desire to do disappeared and I sort of wilted into being an idler. Hours passed and I couldn’t explain exactly what I did. I walked the dog (I think) or worked on a puzzle (for how long who knows) or drowned in Tik Tok videos (perfect escapism). But I couldn’t tell you and to-do lists went out the window.

The first couple weeks I couldn’t sleep because I was filled with such dread and anxiety about the world. I thought I’d lose my job (I did take a pay-cut) or get sick (I did) and so now maybe I am able to reflect better because… I’m still here. We’re entering week 8 of quarantining and I finally feel a bit more like myself. Like I can sit at the keyboard and share.

But there’s a very big difference. It’s not forced. I truly waited until I felt the creativity surge forward. So far, poetry has been my main outlet. But today, finally after WEEKS I felt comfortable jumping on here and sharing. Also, I usually write with some structure but today is free form.

I have learned to actually rest. Not just the scheduled “rest” I used to pencil in. I listen to myself more. If I don’t check everything off of the list because I got tired, well so be it. I wanted to take 10,000 steps yesterday but only got to 8,000. Normally I would have pushed through, or gone back out later to achieve the “goal” but now, I am gentle with myself. I take my time while writing. I take my time with everything. It’s new and it’s nice and maybe I’ll be able to take this into my regular life… when life goes back or rather… becomes our new normal. I look forward to being able to TUNE OUT and just enjoy being. I hope I can tether this energy.

It would be easy to see this idleness as a negative but I feel it has a positive impact on my creatively. It’s no longer a push to pump out a ton of “ok” poems a day, but rather a slow lingering walk to one “good” poem I feel proud of. It’s a different energy and one that was hard to find in my normal life.

I’m wondering what negatives you’re facing that could be positives when looked at differently. We’re all facing differing levels of grief and different multitudes of issues and so this could be hard to do. And you don’t even have to try. But I’d definitely be curious to hear about it if you care to share.

Until next time, be safe!

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