In Praise of Doing Nothing

It usually dawns on me around Wednesday that once again a weekend will happen. Thursday is when I get a little hopeful. Friday, provided I am not on call, I get downright giddy. I think I have finally succumbed to the whole TGIF thing. I get it. The weekend can be pretty awesome, and much needed.

I used to scoff at people who would express excitement for the weekend (even you, Rebecca Black, even you). Weekends have never really mattered. In college, every day was a weekend, or we had to study. In medical school, we always had to study. In residency, the weekend meant call with emergency (i.e. sometimes pretty crazy) cases only. A weekend off was rare. In fact, in medicine, we refer to having Saturday and Sunday free as a “Two Day Weekend” which I now realize is rather redundant. So yeah, coursework, papers, exams and trauma never really followed the weekend schedule.

But now? I am all grown up and I finally understand the purpose of the weekend. It is the time to do whatever you want. This usually means whatever you couldn’t get done during the week and whatever you have to do, but it also means whatever you want. Let’s just take a moment to celebrate that. Let’s take another moment for those who can’t do whatever they want on a weekend (hopefully they get some other day off). Pour out a little weekend liquor for our homies.

So, what do I want to do? What is the ultimate weekend activity? PARTY TIME? Not for this one. No. I’ll venture to say that, for a lot of people, the ultimate weekend consists of doing absolutely nothing. This is more rare than one would think. No going to the bank, no post office, no laundry, no meetings, no cleaning, no social plans, no errands, no phone calls, no writing, no trying really hard to get in shape in two days, no grocery shopping, no email catch up… I mean, how rare is that? I can’t even imagine how elusive “nothing” is once one has kids. As much as I have been conditioned to love “relaxing” by getting a ton of things crossed off the to do list, I love some “Lounging with hand creme watching SVU and not talking” time.

Nothing is the new something for me. Now, instead of seeking out things to do on the weekend, I try to find time for pure nothingness. So, in honor of the rare opportunity to do nothing, I will list my favorite ways to do just that:

  1. The aforementioned SVU marathon (or any other streaming Netflix marathon- Just got a hot tip on The Wonder Years)
  2. Googling dogs for adoption
  3. Stalking open houses
  4. Searching for the end of the internet
  5. Art projects (mine are very mind numbing)
  6. Going through my closet and trying stuff on/getting rid of stuff
  7. Throwing as many things out as possible (the weekend is for anti-hoarding)
  8. Putting on hand and foot lotion and other general beauty pampering
  9. Making lists
  10. Trying to think of things to write
  11. Sleeping (I actually count this as being very productive)
  12. Taking Photobooth pics of myself
  13. Taking Photobooth videos of myself lip synching to the Beastie Boys
  14. Knitting (again, I actually count this as being productive)
  15. Going to the dog park with my sister (me being the creep sans dog)
  16. People watching (I am such a creep)
  17. Simply wearing a giant sweater will keep me happy for hours
  18. Brunching
  19. Laughing
  20. Crying
  21. Going to the Farmers Market

I guess it’s hard to make a list of “nothings”, but I could go on and on. Also, please don’t get me wrong, I love and prefer getting out there and being productive. The “Doldrums” from The Phantom Tollbooth gave me nightmares as a child, and I still can’t bear to watch that scene. Every now and then I’m just really happy and thankful to sit with my thoughts after a rough couple of weeks. This is one of those times. I aim to be like that little sloth. Snacking and relaxing.

I hope all you lovelies had a delightful weekend- productive or relaxing or both. What is your ultimate weekend?

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  • Gabriela Varela

    currently in the middle of 4 months break between high school and uni and i’m definitly loving doing othing most of the time, feeling a little bit like that baby sloth and it’s kind of great

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Enjoy this time!!! Live it up!

  • Victor Saltykov

    you should get medical video games!

  • Victor Saltykov

    ttrauma center games for wii are good or nintendo DS

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Ooooh intriguing!!

  • Kelly Keen McKinney

    It’s so true, I work full time and I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old and sometimes I tell my husband I have to go to the bathroom and disappear into my bedroom for 30 minutes and watch Bravo. Sneaky, I know.

    • Elisabeth Miller

      I was a nanny for four years. One year, I worked 80 hours a week for a family with three girls 5 and under. There were times when I would put the baby in the playpen, make sure the older two were in the thrall of tv and lock myself in the bathroom for 2 minutes. Bliss.

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Oh get the Bravo in when you can!! I still need to get cable. Then I will get REALLY good at lounging :) And getting in alone/quiet time with kids around takes a whole new level of genius that I will have to reach…

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Elisabeth, you are like Super Nanny or something??? Woah.

  • Liz Haebe

    I have a Lazy Sunday once a month. I don’t put on clothes. I don’t go outside and breathe fresh air. My last one consisted of 8 episodes of The Vampire Diaries on Netflix and baking a squash. Then, I proceeded to watch some Hulu, more Netflix and then I went to bed. Perfect day.

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Sounds positively dreamy!! Fresh air, so overrated when there is Netflix. Oh, and I am obsessed with baking squash lately!

  • Lindsey Gira

    Your list of doing nothing seems like you actually are doing a lot! My list of doing nothing starts with “not showering” and continues with “moving from the bed to the couch” and “eating.”

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      Haha. I am still working on the art of nothing! There was a great deal of snacking and napping going on this weekend though…

  • Melissa Senger

    I think you and I may be soul mates, actually.

    • Alexandra Anderson Conrad

      You, me and that little Slothykins!

  • Elyse Allen

    #17 on the list is my FAVORITE. Haha, so true for me!

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