When you take the time to consider how life works best, I think you will agree that life involves activity. Living things are not stagnant and if they become stagnant, generally, something has gone wrong. The beauty and the value of life is found in activity, not mindless movements and empty tasks, but meaningful activity that accomplishes some end. Human beings were meant to do something, not sit idly in a state of inertia doing nothing. Activity is the anecdote to restlessness and anxiety. There is always something to do and having nothing to do leads to fretting and focus on things that have no purpose or usefulness. Often the troubles we imagine were born in those times when we had nothing planned and thought it beneficial to “veg out” confusing it with relaxation and repose. Relaxation has its purpose; vacations have their purpose and periods of not feeling compelled to perform behaviors or tasks have their purpose. But nothingness and killing time and wasting away serves rather to damage us than to heal us. If you want to be immeasurably happier, you have to do something.
All of us have experienced the joy that follows a busy day; a day where we put our entire focus into what we were doing and nothing else. We are all familiar with the satisfaction that accompanies the completion of some needed project or necessary repair of a thing that was broken. Similarly, we all know the misery associated with doing nothing for too long or letting things go that call aloud for remedy. We were made to do things and we were made to engage with life. That is not to say that we should work ourselves to the bone or submit ourselves to endless “to do lists” or requirements. Life has a balance and a flow to it and we typically know when we are pushing too hard. Fun times and play time are usually enjoyed after the work is done and not before. We often wish we had more leisure time, but leisure time lost in inactivity seems to generate more stress than relaxation. We function best when we have some work to do and a complete withdrawal from all work tends to work against our own best interests. Retirement does not mean we go from doing much to doing nothing. It simply involves a shift of focus from required tasks to tasks we choose to require. Whether it be tending a garden or writing in a journal or rearranging the furniture or cleaning out the garage, we still need something to do if want to be okay. Choosing to do nothing or to do less and less doesn’t lead to better feelings, it leads to boredom and unrest and opportunities to seek out what is wrong with life and what appears to be wrong with us. Busy people have no time for such trifles as they have remained engaged in the activity of life. You have to do something!
This life we all are blessed to live has an infinite amount of things to be interested in. You aren’t miserable because you have run out of life to experience. You are miserable because you have stopped experiencing life. You have bought into the myth that life is better when you have nothing to do. As a human being, there is never a time when you have nothing to do. It doesn’t fit with God’s plan for life. Chances are there are many things you need to do but have stopped doing them or many things you could do but have chosen to disengage from them. All of us need to recharge at times. All of us need a break or an extended break. But, even when we are taking a break, life still requires us to do something with our time. I understand what happens to us. We get overtaxed and overburdened at times. We spend too much energy. We buy into the logic that our best times are when we have nothing to do. But, there is a vast difference between not working your job and choosing to do nothing. Doing nothing makes a vacation suck. Time spent ignoring things needing to be done sucks. Deferring things requiring completion for later sucks. Sitting around disengaging from life and the people in our lives sucks. In short, God intended for our lives to be filled with meaningful activity or meaningful inactivity, the point being we always need to do something!
Being unproductive works at cross purposes with the flow of life. Our job when we feel bored or feel things have become pointless or find ourselves trapped in painful, dull routines is to reengage with life. Life hasn’t changed. We have. We put in limitations where there is no limitation. We draw finite lines around our existence, never really considering that our Source of life is infinite. We simply stop doing life and over the years find ourselves entangled in a large bowl of nothingness. We live for the weekend while completely discounting Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday. We anxiously await the warmer weather when life still exists when it’s cold. We have succumbed to a fixed mindset where the options are few and our opportunities even less. We cannot go to dinner on a “school night.” We have to wait until the weekend to work on the flower beds. We cannot engage ourselves in things that interest us because we have already foolishly concluded there’s little that interests us. What an insult to Infinite Variety and the life He envisioned for us. You want to break out of your rut? Stop thinking so much and do something.
Human beings, life and happiness have their roots in activity. Meaningful activities or activities that have meaning to you are part of the human experience and cannot be excluded or reduced. Children are happier when they have something to do, even if they complain about doing it. Schedules and labor and obligations fuel the good times we enjoy. Good, old fashioned hard work does wonders for your soul. Think about your life and what you do and see if there aren’t things you have stopped doing or reduced or neglected and get back out there and do stuff. Don’t medicate inactivity with alcohol or television or sleep. Instead do, summon the energy to do and be and engage with your life. You just might find some stuff that has been waiting for you to do.
Just some good thoughts…