Slowing the pace,
marking time and simply doing nothing...
What if we reserved some activity-free timeslots
in our diaries during 2022?
Opting out of the race against the clock, allowing a few minutes or even complete hours to slip by completely deliberately... An attractive idea but one which proves increasingly impossible when planning our busy lives. Especially in today’s digital age with its electronic devices demanding ever more attention from us, depriving us of the possibility to simply think about nothing. Or to sit back with our arms folded.
However, doing nothing is good for your health, including your morale. This idleness, which, as an old adage reminds us, was once seen as “the mother of all vices”, is today being vaunted as essential, relaxing, useful for contemplation and a stimulating source of creativity when used properly.
Some of us had the delightful experience of this during the first lockdown in spring 2020. After overcoming the stress of the pandemic, they quickly attuned themselves to what was virtually a world at a standstill. They took advantage of these days in suspended animation to rediscover interests and hobbies which previously had no place in their packed diaries. They took advantage of this free time and as a result they learned to take a break, to let go, to disconnect, to unplug themselves and the world and to allow themselves a little free time at selected moments, in timeslots free of any activity.
“Our main error these days, is to strive for maximum speed in everything we do” wrote the philosopher Alain in his Propos sur le bonheur back in 1928. Since then, the sense of constant urgency has steadily increased. Everything in our lives is timed to the last second. The time is displayed on every street corner, on almost every object comprising our day-to-day lives. We don’t even need to update our timepieces when moving from one time zone or season to another as everything is connected and adjusts itself automatically before you’ve even thought about it. It’s almost like magic! Unless it’s a serious mistake.
When the time updates itself on our watch while we’re asleep, our daily planning slips seriously out of our control. Naturally, this is the same for everyone. We can’t stand in the way of . But we could still incorporate regular moments in which time no longer holds sway as part of our mental and physical routines for 2022. Moments in which the stated aim would be to produce absolutely nothing.
Moments in which the body and mind could rest,
just like our daily bread,
which needs to be left to stand for a while when still in its dough state, in order to thicken and to become denser, rounder, softer and firmer
over the following hours.
Text : Frédéric Martin-Bernard Photo : Copyright Peter Hujar Sheryl Sutton, 1977