What If My Favorite Thing to Do Is Nothing? (Notes on Slug Life)

nothingnobody

It’s hard for me to make blanket statements, especially to complicated questions like, “Do you condone violence?” Well, are we talking about someone I do or do not despise? This isn’t my admission that I go around hitting people. Cornered animals, including humans, will often fight back, and I have delicate bones, so I guess the short answer is no, I do not condone violence. I’m important to me and one of my top priorities is looking out for #1.

You would think that with such a bloated level of self-importance, I would use my time wisely and set big goals for myself. When you achieve big, you can brag big. I don’t fritter away precious energy humblebragging; I just brag.

But my favorite thing to do is nothing. It’s hard to brag about nothing. For so much of my life, I did shit I didn’t want to do. After careful thought, I realized that some of the things I didn’t want to do weren’t even things I actually agreed to do, just, somehow, I got dragged into another person’s mess, and eventually, it became my own burden to bear. When I made the commitment to stop saying “yes” to every request, freedom came immediately and the power of “no” was so delicious that it bled into every crevice of my waking hours.

When my zeal for “no” mixed with depression, I stopped doing anything. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I had no goals. I would start a task and forego the satisfying rush of finishing it because, fuck that shit. At the end of each day, I couldn’t recall what I had done with my time. Doing nothing feels both long and brief. And doing nothing is really goddamn boring.

Since it’s hard to change your ways when you have no idea what your ways are, I decided to keep track of an entire day during my 102-day break to assess where I might be able to shift my behavior or focus. Reading over my notes at the end of the day was fucking horrifying. If I were a deity, I would most likely smite myself for my ridiculous and wasteful abuse of life.

A.M.

6:40 Wake up. Immediately shut my eyes again and pretend I am sleeping. Hope my body gets the hint.

6:42 Hear incessant chirping. Google “How do I find a bird I can hear but can’t see?” on my phone. Already Googled “Is it illegal to kill a bird in Los Angeles County?” when the bird moved into our neighborhood late spring but haven’t taken action. Mental note: purchase slingshot.

6:55 I need to pee.

7:05 I really need to pee.

7:13 Fuck it. Fine. I will get out of this fucking bed. Fuck my kidneys. Fuck my bladder.

Harv leaves with Cal to drop her off at school.

8:15 Harv is home again. He has a dentist appointment in an hour. I am still in bed. “Wow, you’re exactly as I left you.” Not true. I am now sitting up.

8:15-8:25 I spend 10 minutes of quality time with Harv even though I am in the middle of a Candy Crush level that I was probably going to beat but not anymore because disruptions break my flow. Show Harv a picture of Jay-Z’s murdered out Tesla because the look appeals to me. He immediately frowns and shakes his head.

jayztesla

“Just because I’m married to you doesn’t mean I can’t be married to the streets,” I argue. He says it draws the wrong kind of attention. “You know I don’t fuck with felonies.” My upstanding behavior falls on deaf ears.

9:00 My Any.Do app reminds me that it is 9 a.m. and I need to plan my day. My day has not officially started yet, so I ignore the reminder. I’m really killing it in Candy Crush. Level 617 is my bitch. Wait. How did I go through 4 lives so fast? I switch the time on my phone to get more lives and promise myself that I will stop playing when these 5 lives are gone or if I beat this level, whichever comes first.

9:15 I’m so hungry that I’m starting to feel nauseous. Also, my eyes are getting tired because I have not yet put in my contacts and when I play Candy Crush with my bad eyes, I have to close one and only look out of the other to focus. It is causing both eye and facial muscle strain. I will get out of bed. As soon as I finish these 5 lives.

We have lots of delicious leftovers, but all of those require microwave action. Waiting 45 seconds for my meal isn’t really my style. It really chaps my hide that I bought regular Cap’n Crunch cereal instead of the Crunch Berries version. Colorful food supposedly has more vitamins.

9:52 Eat breakfast. Check Complex Magazine’s website. Repeatedly. Brush my teeth. Think about taking a shower. My feet are cold but I refuse to put on a pair of socks until I take a shower because, hell no, I will not waste two pairs of socks in one day. I’m not going to live like an animal who reuses socks that have previously been on unwashed feet.

I will turn off my phone and start writing at 10 a.m.

10:02 Fuck. Missed it. I will start at 11.

11:23 My feet are going numb because they are so cold. Turning purple even. I have bad circulation because I don’t move very much. Our family doctor says I need to get regular exercise, but fuck that, I do what I want.

I am feeling extremely tired even though I have not done any actual work yet.

11:23-12:18 Text with a friend about procrastination, low self-esteem, fear, feelings of worthlessness. Think about telling my friend I need to take a shower but the conversation has a rhythm, and I don’t want to be rude and cut her off. Attempt to multitask by making the bed and folding the laundry as I text. Spot a Werther’s Original underneath the dresser. It’s a little dusty but wrapped. Lick it a little to see if it tastes “off.” Decide to just eat my unexpected treat and not think about the possible consequences. I’m not trying to be reckless, but I have excellent health insurance, and that’s pretty much the same thing as being unbreakable.

P.M.

12:18 I wash my face instead of taking a shower so I have time to eat lunch. I can’t skip meals because hunger gives me excruciating headaches. Also, when my stomach is empty, my heart is full of rage, and I’m trying to care more about myself and other people.

1:30-2:30 Therapy. We mainly talk about procrastination and why that’s ruining my life. I mention to my therapist that I am on level 618 of Candy Crush so she knows I’m not just doing nothing with my time.

3:15 Pick up Cal. Except for that one year dismissal time overlapped with reruns of Cold Case, I try not to be late for pick-up. Feel like it shows my kid I got her back. I’m mostly doing this for myself so that when I get old, Cal will give me money to shop at Whole Foods.

3:45-6:30 Lie down. Allow myself a few minutes to grieve over never seeing Tupac rap live. Think about Biggie. Does God allow beef in heaven? I keep my Tupac on the west side of my bookshelf and Biggie on the east.

tupacbiggie

6:30  My brother and his wife come over for dinner. They’re outdoorsy people and often leave the country for extended scuba diving or hiking trips. Harv went to Tibet and then to Everest base camp a few months before we got married, so my brother, Marshall, is asking Harv about his experience. Marshall hopes to summit at least one of the Seven Summits, the highest points of each continent. I bet I could climb a mountain. I climb the stairs in our house all day long, and I never even stop or anything halfway. They are talking about a mountain in the Himalayas called Annapurna. Maybe I will do that one. My brother says it has a 41% death rate. “No wait, I think it’s down to 38% now.”  I scratch that one off my list.

7:50-11:30 I watch multiple episodes of Everest: Beyond the Limit, a docu-series chronicling the two-month journey of Everest climbers. If I can climb a mountain with the same devotion and concentration that I have for watching this show, I will be unstoppable.

Questions about climbing Everest:
Is it okay to cry on Everest? Will my tears freeze?
Is wifi available?
Will I be able to maintain my skincare routine?

11:30 I am extremely spent after watching hours of Everest. It’s been emotionally draining and I’m physically maxed out after being in a sitting position for over 4 continuous hours. Get up and stretch. Call down to Harv and ask him to bring me a glass of water with a lemon wedge. I need to rehydrate, but I just can’t see myself going all the way downstairs right now.

11:40 Think about Neil deGrasse Tyson. I wanted to become an astrologer when I was 12 but made the mistake of saying “astronomer” instead of “astrologer” to my parents. For 3 years, my Christmas gift was a subscription to Astronomy magazine and monthly deliveries of Voyage Through the Universe, a Time Life series that cost my parents $20 for each book. I still have them today even though I’ve never cracked open a single volume. They can now be purchased for $1.99 online. If I meet Neil, should I mention my collection? I bet it would earn his respect. Those Time Life books ain’t nothing to fuck with.

11:50 Harv says I’m probably not going to meet Neil deGrasse Tyson in the near future so I need to stop rummaging through boxes looking for my books. He also suggested I “go to bed right now.” How am I married to such a pessimist? He’s really lucky to have me in his life.
___
This was a powerful, eye-opening exercise, and it’s helped me understand what a profound impact depression had on my behavior when I allowed it to overtake my day. Well, if I’m being honest, depression, sheer laziness, and apathy. I’m embarrassed that this is who I can be sometimes, but now that I know what rock bottom looks like, I can be better. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
___
Does this blog look jacked up today? Clearing your cache might help. My bad. Working on site changes with my development homegirl.

Holler at me:
Flourish in Progress on Facebook: Liking this page will change your life. Ha. No. Be real. Sometimes I post semi-fun shit on there, but that’s about it.

Instagram @flourishinprogress: Yes, my profile is on lockdown. But I accept most follows unless we used to do bad shit together.

Commenting Guidelines:

Leave your thoughts below and I'll holler back at you with a response. PLEASE DO NOT POST LINKS TO PRODUCTS OR SITES within the body of your comments. I edit/delete them. If you'd like to link your comment back to your site, just sign up for a Disqus account. It's quick and easy. I promise.

 
  • Kitty F Sarcasta

    I can 100% relate to 90% of that shit. I would never consider climbing a mountain..but I did recently think about taking my kid’s skate board to the skate park while she was at school to relive the glory days of 10-12 years old. It’s gonna take some time to get to that point though..it’s been twenty + years since then…besides who would be there at 11am to take video!?! I’ve also been contemplating getting an ‘intern’ to follow me around to video and photo journal my adventures…then maybe I would really have adventures. <3 Keep it up, Mama!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      LOLOL. Seriously though- video or it didn’t happen.

      I admire your bravery. I would be too scared to skateboard. Why I think mountain climbing is any safer beats me.

  • mwheatcraft

    Some times we have to rest our brains and bodies to get ready for the next phase of our lives. Just try not to miss it. We miss you.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Amen, sister. Rest up to level up.

      xoxo

      • mwheatcraft

        Or to remember that “sometimes” is one word. Hate when I find my grammar mistakes on the 2nd read-through. :(.

  • Amy

    Ohmygod, I think we are soul mates or something! I can totally relate! I have admitted to myself that I am a utilitarian–if I can avoid doing something unpleasant, I will! I’m not lazy, I’m just conserving energy!

    When I was laid off from my last “real” job, I did nothing for the first, like 4 or 5 months. Except smoke weed and play farmville. I think I was recharging. I had been very depressed, and, like you said, it really saps your motivation and energy.
    Since then (2 1/2 yrs), I have been pursuing my real dream, to be a freelance artist. I am so lucky I have a boyfriend now who is willing to support me while I do it. I am SO much happier, and as a result I have more ambition, energy, and am not quite so lazy! I still prefer to have lots of free, unscheduled time, but I’m actually heading in the right direction now with my art.
    I’ve thought a lot about laziness, and I believe that many times it’s really depression. Like you said, a lot of it is “procrastination, low self-esteem, fear, feelings of worthlessness.” I have found that the more confident I get, the more motivated I feel. And then I get more done.
    Oh, and I too am sad I never got to see Tupac live!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Conserving energy…LOLOL. Totally true and a perfect way to think of it.

      I’ve found that when I lose something that was part of my norm or my identity for so long that I stopped questioning whether it should even exist or not…those are the times that I grow a little more into who I’m supposed to be. Good luck to you! I’m excited to see where you passionate pursuits take you!

  • Brittany Olson

    Oh man I have days like that but I have never written them down. But I try to do one thing every day that is productive even if it is only doing the dishes or folding laundry. I do notice if I make plans for the weekend I tend to not get as depressed because I have committed to something. Good luck to you lady!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh….I really like this idea! I’ve done my best to stay commitment free, especially on the weekends. Maybe I will add an activity or two to have something bright and shiny to look forward to throughout the week.

  • Natane

    Candy Crush is a cruel, demanding mistress. But in all seriousness, more than anything, your brain and body were taking their time to adjust to your new normal. The normal that involved saying ‘no’ to people and taking care of yourself. And the place where the ‘yes’ used to be was a void. A void that was easily filled with candy crush and other nothingness.

    New normals are the hardest things to adjust to, and sometimes you just have to roll with the funk. More often than not, the new normal is worth the wait through the funk. I’m so glad you’re on this side of the funk, now.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Thank you…wow, you totally said what I lacked the words to say. I really needed to read this.

  • alexandra

    I know you so well.
    xo

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      <3

  • Steph@DontChewGlass

    It’s hard being this delicate. I feel like I spend 80% of my time talking myself down from some imaginary ledge. It’s exhausting.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      It gets to be a drag sometimes. Jumping off seems so much easier. But then I remind myself that I’ve spent too much money shooting my face up with Botox and I need to stick around to see what an 80 year old’s immovable face looks like.

  • http://www.blogspot.fabparis.com/ Jennifer Clark

    Thanks, dearie. I now feel much less guilty about the 2 hour naps I routinely take.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      That’s the way to live. I mean, that’s what I tell myself every time I lay down in the middle of the day. xo

      • http://www.blogspot.fabparis.com/ Jennifer Clark

        I often don’t wait ’til the middle of the day. I point of fact, I’m headed back to bed right now…. With a kitty or two. I’m so spoiled!

        • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

          You’ve just hit role model status.

  • Jennifer

    I am happy to have found your site. You are a great writer and your timing is awesome. Will be reading all the old entries in binge fashion. Good luck with feeling better from someone also weathering depression right now.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      You’re a force. Depression ain’t got nothing on you. Stay strong, homegirl.

  • http://www.TheNextDelusion.com Cassandra

    That was one impressive day. I aspire to a day like that. Truly.

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Aw, lol. You are too kind. xo

  • http://pinknoam.com/ PinkNoam

    I can relate to this, except that I’d replace ‘candy crush’ with World of Warcraft and it would be for 8 hours at a time… luckily I’ve met a wonderful guy who’s completely turned my life around and knows just how to give me a verbal kick up the ass when I start feeling down again. much love :)

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Oh my goodness, Harv and Cal are huge WoW fans and now they’ve incorporated League of Legends into their addiction.

      I’m so happy that you found someone who understands and acknowledges your immense worth and helps you see it too.

  • Erin Janda Rawlings

    What a great way to see how you are spending your day. When deep in depressions (or in my case anxiety), it’s hard to see grip it had on your daily life.

    Sometimes when I would be close to having a breakthrough in therapy, I would have a hard time getting stuff done because I always had a tab open and processing information. I wonder if that was part if what was going on here.

    It takes guts taking assessment of your life. Try to be kind towards yourself!!

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I didn’t separate depression and anxiety for a long time and it’s only recently that I can see how the each one can exist without the other….and that I need to deal with anxiety issues too.

      The “tab open” concept is something I’m going to keep in my thoughts. I think that’s exactly what was going on and it’s a good reminder that sometimes, when we think we’re not doing anything, we’re healing. And that’s something.

  • Tram N.

    I also struggle with severe depression. I mask it well now by pretending to be a normal functioning member of society. Getting out of bed and facing another day is an everyday struggle. Thank you so much for sharing. Your blog really makes me believe that I am not alone in the world. Keep on keepin’ on…

    • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I got your back. And although I wouldn’t let myself feel it for a long time, I realize now that so many people in my life had my back….and that asking for help doesn’t make me weak. Keep going, my friend. I hear the other side is totally worth the journey.

  • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

    I’m going to stop hitting you up day of. Maybe that’ll increase my chances of getting a date with you.

  • http://flourishinprogress.com/ Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

    I wouldn’t mind a day or two like that every once in a while, but TRUTH, having it as a lifestyle is not healthy at all. I’m slowly adding more shit to do…shit that I can’t just ignore when I feel like it…so that I have a reason to keep on keepin on.

  • http://www.MonicaMingo.com/ Monica Mingo

    “But my favorite thing to do is nothing. It’s hard to brag about nothing. For so much of my life, I did shit I didn’t want to do. After careful thought, I realized that some of the things I didn’t want to do weren’t even things I actually agreed to do, just, somehow, I got dragged into another person’s mess, and eventually, it became my own burden to bear. When I made the commitment to stop saying “yes” to every request, freedom came immediately and the power of “no” was so delicious that it bled into every crevice of my waking hours.”
    Every word of that is me. I love being alone. I NEED to be left the hell alone. I don’t want to talk, commit to shit, move over on the sofa or share my damn snacks if I don’t want to. I don’t need the television on and I don’t run for the phone. I ignore it all and only do whatever the hell I WANT to do. I do this all day. When my husband comes home…we do nothing together. Just us. Doing stuff can be totally overrated.

  • Karin Antal

    This sounds exactly like my day, except my husband doesn’t take the kids to school, I do. Oh, and replace Candy Crush with facebook; and replace Cold Case with Call the Midwife and your musings on rappers we’ll replace with thoughts about chocolate or Neil Gaiman.
    Depression, laziness, and apathy suck.
    Also, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is my homeboy. I love outer space. When I was 15, I took an astronomy class and fell in love with the universe.
    Astrology is cool, too. Hi, my name’s Karin, and I’m a Pisces. Dreamer, idealist, lazy motherfucker.
    I have no idea how to be better. I want to. I want to be more than the pathetic mess that I am.
    Thank you again for writing so honestly. I admire you so much for that.

  • Elle

    Just wanted to say I really enjoy your writing. You’re very, very talented. You tell a great story, are brave in the telling, and have mad skills with words. Also, crazy respect for waking up before 7 and going to bed before midnight.

  • http://aladyinfrance.com/ Jennie Goutet

    If you climb Everest, love, you will have to expose your heinie to the great outdoors and poop (in nature) (needs italics). I know this because I just read a documentary. You’re better off watching it on TV. ;-)

  • SuzLotus

    Hi. I am going through a horrible, terrible, no-good divorce right now (on the spectrum of divorces, shaking hands and calling it quits and being divorced in 2 months being the best, and “he tried to hack me to death in the courthouse” being the worst, I am two points off of the latter). I have developed PTSD from the last 2.5 years. I continue forward, knowing that I have a path to make for my children, I am loved by my family and friends, I have a pretty darn good job (after being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years), and one day this will be over. One day. God that day – the day I realize he can’t mess with me anymore, or my children, is going to amazing. I tell you this because your honesty makes me realize I’m not alone in getting through my days the best we can. The circumstances may be different, but you help me to remember that we all have our shit. It’s our shit, it’s personal to us, it doesn’t make my or your shit any better or worse, it just sucks but I know I’m not the only one. I’ve been terribly depressed, then gotten better, and so I can recognize it now and take better care of myself when things become overwhelming and bad (“Don’t feel bad about feeling bad. It is what it is until it isn’t anymore). And sometimes it’s just BAD. When those things happen, I remind myself of my new mantra: I CHOOSE ME. And “ME” is my health, my children, my home, my feelings, my needs, my wants. I CHOOSE ME. And what is good for me is good for my children. I CHOOSE ME. Not his bullshit. Not anyone else’s bullshit. I close my ranks and I CHOOSE ME. Thanks for being here. xo, ME

  • Kmo

    Reads like many days in my diary. And even the days I do make it to work sometimes seem like just a pause until I can get back to doing nothing.

    Actually went out to a gig tonight. To see a comedian I have really wanted to see live. Instead of kicking myself I didn’t have the guts to stay and chat to people after, I’m going to try to remind myself it’s an achievement unlocked that I went at all.