A day of nothing reveals… well, a lot.

The other day I had nothing to do. No commitments, no classes to teach, no errands, no housework, and no people to see. I am currently away from home, staying in the city for a week taking a Kundalini Yoga training course, and I had a free day with nothing to do. I should have been elated. I should have been so excited for my free day – after all, who doesn’t like free?

But when I woke up that morning, I worried: what am I going to do today? Before I had even answered the question, I felt guilty. Guilty that I was here wondering how to fill my free time while my husband was back at home working. Guilty that I didn’t have more things that I had to do. And guilty at the thought that I could possibly, just maybe, actually spend the day doing whatever I wanted without having to achieve something.

This was followed by an immediately horrified reaction – a day without achieving something? Who would want that? So I ran through a mental list of things that I might possibly achieve today. Given that I really had nothing to do, this was a challenge, but then I remembered that I needed to go to the eye exam clinic and pick up another copy of my receipt while I was in town. Even better, I realized that it would mean I’d have to drive across the city and would probably take up the better part of my morning. Ooh, I could even squeeze in lunch and stretch it out a bit. Happy to have a purpose for my day, I set out. A few hours later, mission completed, I found myself back in my temporary home, faced with the same dilemma. Now what?

So naturally, I reverted back to my default state: finding a good book to read (Petite Anglaise, if anyone’s curious). And read. And read. And I probably would have kept reading late into the night if I hadn’t already decided to attend a couple of yoga classes that evening with some friends. So by the end of the evening, my day complete, I looked back on my free day – and it turns out you can learn a lot about yourself just by what you do with a free day:

Lesson #1: I put a lot of pressure on myself and because of that, carry a lot of guilt around with me. I’m not good at letting myself relax.

Lesson #2: I am an acheiver. I need to acheive. If I don’t acheive, I lose my sense of purpose completely, and I am lost.

Lesson #3: I am an escape artist. When bored, I look to escape. This takes different forms; most commonly both a literal escape (I just have go somewhere. Anywhere.) and a figurative escape through fiction books, which I devour like a hungry dinosaur on the throes of extinction.

Lesson #4: I need social contact, but am not good at initiating it. I don’t know how to just be social; I need a shared purpose, something that takes the pressure off myself. I think this goes back to my childhood insecurities and the day on the playground that I was told that, actually, this group of girls in my class had decided not to let me hang out with them.

So what does this all mean? Well I don’t know. How about you go have your own free day, and see what you learn, hmm?

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