Not checking our mails or to-do list, making a shopping list, or tidying up the kitchen. Not meditating, making a decision to be mindful, and also most certainly not reading that article about how to eat healthily. Not doing the crossword, not reading the paper, not reading a book, no Netflixing. Not calling a friend, not making that ten things I love about my partner list, not planning our trip and reading about where we should go, what sites we absolutely must go and see.
Sounds difficult, doesn’t it? Somehow, we are made to feel guilty, or we make ourselves feel guilty, if we are not keeping ourselves busy and entertained at all times. Maybe we do everything we can to avoid being alone with our thoughts, our selves. Or we buy into the perspective that doing nothing means you are lazy, not achieving anything.
But doing nothing in our spare time, doing nothing in our breaks at work, doing nothing during a trip other than just sitting on a chair in an old cobbled street and watching life go by, or just walking around without a purpose, a reason, a plan...can be great! It might take getting used to, but all the same.
In the Netherlands people seem to have made it such an art there are loads of words to describe it. Take the word "niksen." It is basically just literally that, to do nothing, and so good is the word, it has been made into a verb: To do nothing, or Nothinging.
Then there are lanterfanten, lummelen, luieren, luilakken, rondhangen. Then there are those Dutch words slenteren, dwalen and wandelen, all to describe ways to saunter, wander, take a stroll, take our time, no aim.
Other languages have them too. Who has not heard of dolce far niente, hang out, lounge around, chill out. Not doing or thinking anything in particular.
Just like that, no plan.
Do you dare enjoy doing this? Does your language have a good word for these ways of being? Let us know, we would like to hear from you!!