The art of doing nothing (Brooklyn, USA)

Doing nothing is an art form for me. I booked the upcoming trip at the end of September to give myself a purpose for the upcoming months. Finally I had dates. And errands. And stuff to look into on the internet. And stuff I could buy without feeling guilty for spending money.

I really wanted to do it all at once. Book the details. Read all about the countries I would be going to. Pack. And wrap up everything that had to be done in my apartment. That was before I even knew that I could sublet, let alone found someone I would give the place to.

I’m a fortunate person. I’ve always been lucky. I’ve never suffered from anything, had any big problems to tackle or experienced bad times. I’ve always had the money to support my various ideas, I never had difficulties finding a job or settling in to a new place. I’ve never worked too hard and I never jumped through hoops to get what I want. Everything always fell into place with me. Why would it be different this time?

It wasn’t. My landlord accepted the proposal of me subleasing (even if this took a while and due to my impatient nature made me temporarily nuts as friends can attest), I found a person without any effort on my part, and now after 3 months and a bit I’m finally at the point where I can say the countdown has started.

So here it is, 3 more full days until I take off for London and Frankfurt and the art of doing nothing has finally kicked in. In the past weeks I was itching to get things done. I had to stop myself from cleaning out my closets or redecorate entire shelves. I didn’t want to clean the toaster oven, microwave or fridge because I still use it. I didn’t want to do laundry as there’s not enough piled up yet even though I won’t need 90% of it for my trip anyway. I didn’t want to create ipod playlists and buy audiobooks because I thought I may need the ipod for data transfer beforehand.  But now that the time has finally approached I am no longer interested in any of that. I have found a way to be relaxed, not doing anything other than watching a DVD or taking a walk, and generally not even caring that in 3 weeks from now I’m going to be on the other end of the world at a staggering 90 degress Fahrenheit. Certainly right now when I’m wrapped in a blanket going through entire packets of Kleenex due to a nasty cold I can’t picture being in shorts and long sleeved shirts to protect myself from the sun and the mosquitos. Damn mosquitos, I will have to start taking my first Malaria pill next Monday and then for 31 consecutive weeks…

I will “lose tonight” as I’m going to my friends’ house (Mike and Lisa) to watch their friend on a bad Disney soap. I will “lose tomorrow” as I’m meeting Christine for a drunk brunch which basically means that the rest of the day I will slack off as well. I will have to get some basic cleaning or packing in on Tuesday to prevent last minute disasters that I need to take care off on Wednesday. But really, what is there to pack/clean? In the evening my friends willl see me off at my local pub. Which probably means “Wednesday morning is lost” as well…  Finally on Wednesday evening I will take my computer and a box and my bike to Allison’s house – perfect excuse to eat out then as it’s so dramatic not to have a computer at hand anymore. Finally on Thursday I will get up, shower…and wait. Wait for my tenant to show up? Wait for …what exactly? I don’t know but I need to kill time until my cab arrives and in the meantime I need to get used to the idea that my apartment is not going to be my apartment for the next 7 1/2 months.

But none of this worries me anymore, and I no longer feel guilty for not doing anything productive this week. Even with these deadlines I manage to sit on my couch playing with my ipad which will be of questionable use in Africa (I could google exactly how useful it is to me there, but no, that would make me productive) or ordering specific light bulbs for my lava lamp on the internet which will arrive after I’m gone. In my mind I have mastered the art of doing nothing.


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