I think sometimes as millennials we are perpetually terrified of doing nothing. We constantly update, move, check in, reload, play Pokemon Go (wow so quick with the pop culture references), update again. We fear a lapse in the chaos, a moment of quiet peace where we can pause and think and breathe. We feel guilty for any break in the productivity. We dread that this quiet peace means we are missing something. We even have a nonsensical acronym for this phenomenon: FOMO. The Fear of Missing Out. This fear drives us too often to a state of exhaustion and stress and mini-breakdowns twice a week in our full-time jobs as professional multi-taskers. We forget how good it feels to actually do nothing in a static roar of accomplishments and to-do lists. Too often, I forget that the act of doing nothing is still an act.
This summer is a good time to remember. To stop irrationally fearing “missing out”. To put down the phone or the laptop or the planner and actually actually do simply nothing. In blazing midday heat or quiet summer dusk. To appreciate and notice and simply be. For better or for worse. To ignore the go go go. Breathe a lot deeper. Notice that you are breathing a lot deeper. Notice everything. Exactly where you are and exactly what you are doing. BE PRESENT. FULLY. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. YOU HEAR ME. This mindfulness turns off that fearful urge and forces us to exist in this actual brief moment in time. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or checking snapchat stories of what we might be missing out on and occasionally, embrace missing out.
Here are some things to do instead of doing things:
- Read a classic. Because you want to.
- The Breathe App (it’s a meditation app, a tad granola but I love this and also it’s free!)
- Quiet thankful lists.
- Appreciate wherever the heck you are and whatever the heck you’re doing.
- Write stuff down. Any stuff. All stuff.
- Listen. To everything not coming from a speaker or your own vocal chords.