One of the things that I learned the hard way during my years of retirement is that you don’t have to be busy all the time. I just couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around the idea of just having “down” time where I literally did nothing. No work, no thinking to any degree; just sitting alone with myself. The Quakers call this “centering down”, some call it meditation, I just call it being alone with myself.
There are so many who say that time is rushing by and out of their control. My wife and I watch the TV show House Hunters when we eat our lunch. In that show there are many who move from one part of the world to another seeking a “slower lifestyle”. They say that things in their lives are just moving so fast that they have to get away. But in reality no matter where you live you still have the same 24/7 as the place you left. Time doesn’t slow down, only the activities you fill it with changes. I have learned in my old-age wisdom that you don’t have to chase a slower lifestyle around the globe, you can find it wherever you are.
Since I have no kids or grand kids I am only speculating here but it seems that kids today have a lot more scheduled activities than I did when I was a kid. “Soccer Moms” is a term that revolves around this phenomenon where one parent spends hours a day driving their kids to one event or another.
In my day my “events” were running around the neighbor visiting my friends and just hanging out. Sometimes we might get together for an ad hoc baseball game or whatever but it was not a scheduled thing. It just kind of happened. Today it seems that parents, or maybe it is the kids themselves, think they have to fill their days with constant activity. Looking back I kind of liked my down time where I could do nothing but maybe lay on my back in the yard and just gaze at the stars above. There seemed to be many more stars in my youth than there are now but that is getting off topic.
When I was in the corporate world, especially 1980 and after, I was constantly being told I have to do more with less. In the last ten years of that life I saw my co-workers getting laid off one after another and was told I had to take on their work responsibilities because they would not be replaced. The mantra then was “Doing More With Less”. That jingle never appealed to me or I suspect anyone else except maybe the bosses who sang them.
In my retirement years I have once again learned how to just do nothing. As in my childhood I have again discovered that you don’t have to be busy all the time. In fact doing nothing once in a while has a calming effect that nothing else seems to provide. Cutting off the thinking and doing nothing isn’t as easy as it sounds but it is worth the effort in order to maintain your sanity in this insane world we live in now… 🙂