September 21, 2023


For splendid leisure

The enjoyment of leisure: Finding price in disengaging from our pursuits, just about every now and then

7 min read

The decades 2020 and 2021 have been witness to the sluggish-but-inevitable coming-apart of our life due to the coronavirus pandemic. Amid times of turmoil and pain, what made everyday living bearable — and probably even truly worth it for several of us — have been the pockets of leisure and loiter we carved out for ourselves.

Firstpost’s new sequence ‘Leisure & Loiter’ explores the price that these functions — and the numerous issues that encompass them these types of as rest, appreciate, satisfaction, hobbies, vacation, working day-dreaming, foodstuff, conversation — add to our daily existence.

In Portion 1, Rohini Kejriwal helps make a situation for accomplishing very little, from time to time. Examine extra from this series in this article.


“I’m fond of carrying out almost nothing,

so I do it all day extensive.

Anywhere I do absolutely nothing,

I do not ever do it completely wrong.

When I am doing absolutely nothing,

there is very little that I do,

for if I started off something,

it would suggest that I was by means of.”

— Jack Prelutsky, ‘I’m Sitting Accomplishing Practically nothing


In a society wherever busyness is the norm and efficiency is shoved down our psyche 24 x 7, it is a enjoyable surprise to make time to do practically nothing in particular.

Up right up until the 2020 world wide lockdown, a the vast majority of us experienced neglected what it felt like to not have wherever to be, nearly anything to do. If the past yr taught us just one point, it was to not choose just about anything for granted any longer. A calendar year of shed opportunities, cancelled ideas and a lot more time than ever before at our disposal. Time melted away, like in Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory.

Homebound, many ended up pressured to obtain new techniques to endure: cooking, gardening, sourdough baking, the completion of extensive-pending personalized tasks, and lifetime modifications. The earth also observed a rise in melancholy, panic, compound abuse and chronophobia — the worry of the passage of time, generally felt by prisoners and terminally unwell clients.

I produce this essay to make the scenario that time is not the enemy.

2020 remaining me with bad knees, impostor syndrome and no constant cash flow. But all people hrs by yourself gave me time to go through, doodle, and desire up new particular jobs. Pandemic hobbies have been taken up and abandoned: 1000-piece puzzles, cooking just about every dish in my mother’s recipe reserve, time-consuming sourdough experiments. It made me worth time (and the absence of it) like never right before and re-prioritise what seriously matters, forcing me to admit my privilege for obtaining free of charge time at all.

The act of building time for leisure and loitering is pretty much an important factor of creative experiences, for me in any case. Commonly, a problem or plan appears, and as an alternative of trying to uncover the solution straight away, I allow myself to convey in the factor of perform and follow where ever it leads me. This is why I always keep a notebook and pen on me, in circumstance inspiration decides to appear knocking by. I have actively learned to sluggish down my ideas, to do points purely as a labour of love mainly because they convey me joy, for no other ulterior motive. This has served me aim a lot less on doing, and additional on staying.

This is a time for unconditioning and unlearning styles of contemplating and carrying out. We undervalue the power of leisure and loiter, of what goes on subconsciously. This is an urge to consider a phase back from the cultural brainwashing and take a minute for by yourself.

Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, in his preferred e-book Relaxation: Why You Get Additional Carried out When You Get the job done Significantly less, writes:

“When we take care of workaholics as heroes, we specific a perception that labor relatively than contemplation is the wellspring of excellent concepts and that the success of individuals and firms is a evaluate of their lengthy several hours.”

There is ample proof that the opposite is really true for illustration, the sluggish-but-steady change to 4-day work months in a lot of pieces of the environment. We are well worth extra than our productivity.

Significantly far too a lot of writers, artists, and poets have vouched for the actuality that creative imagination manifests when you come to be the vessel, the channel for strategies to pour out of you. But in a electronic age when we’re always hyper-related and about-inundated with material, it will take freeing up of the headspace for the “big magic”, as Elizabeth Gilbert calls it, to seem.

“The trick is to just abide by your smaller times of curiosity. It isn’t going to acquire a huge hard work. Just transform your head an inch. Pause for an instant. Answer to what has caught your interest. Glance into it a bit. Is there a little something there for you?” asks Gilbert.

In a technology of around-thinkers, wouldn’t it be great to be a non-thinker, to get some significantly-desired R&R for the mind? Intentionally undertaking almost nothing opens up the doorways to choices, producing way for a richer internal existence and dormant thoughts to uncover their way to the surface.

Artwork © Divya/@divcookie for Firstpost

The trick, I obtain, is to not test way too hard at undertaking nothing. When Robert Frost wrote his famous ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening’, he was primarily loitering in the New England landscape and arrived at the poem. In the same way, the beloved poet Mary Oliver dedicated her full daily life to spending notice to the in-amongst times. In her poem ‘The Summer time Day’, Mary aptly writes:

“I do know how to pay attention, how to slide down

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been executing all working day.”

Embrace idleness. Let go of the notion, the guilt and the notion of laziness that stems from not accounting for just about every second of your waking lifetime. By all means have a program, composition your working day into slots and points-to-do, be productive and get operate performed. But prevent seeking to fight time.

In a earth crammed with to-do lists and deadlines, it can be challenging finding time to just do nothing at all. But I like author Catherine Andrews’ approach. Andrews, who operates a amazing newsletter The Sunday Soother, suggests a re-branding of lists, this kind of as the “to create” list, the “to believe in myself with” record, the “did it” record and/or the “to value” record. Certainly really worth exploring, at the incredibly the very least.

Most importantly, make it possible for on your own to be bored. Find moments of inspiration in the boring, mundane times. Go for a stroll with out a desired destination in intellect. There is an abundance of literature on the virtues of idle going for walks and the gains of boredom. In our age of hyperproductivity, Rebecca Solnit’s words in Industry Notes to Obtaining Dropped make feeling of the human proclivity for loitering:

“Thinking is generally believed of as performing very little in a creation-oriented lifestyle, and executing absolutely nothing is hard to do. It’s greatest performed by disguising it as doing something, and the anything closest to carrying out very little is walking. It strikes a fragile equilibrium between doing the job and idling, being and executing.”

What we are inclined to forget about is that there is value in disengaging from artistic pursuits each now and then. No one appears to make time for performing practically nothing any longer.

If we are regularly filling our days with points to do, rather of compact nothings like daydreaming or wanting out the window, we are stifling the very resource of our creativeness and creativity. Just one of my most loved personalized assignments that arrived from a put of boredom is a collection of Cloud Doodles, wherever I doodle the creatures and scenes in the sky I’m imagining on images of clouds.

Another example is of artist David Hockney, who was stuck in his Normandy house when the pandemic strike. Instead of experience bored with the exact same sights or feeling the pandemic rut that most of us felt, he turned that time into a person of the most productive durations of his life. Dealing with the lockdown as a residency of sorts, Hockney decided to dedicate time to really search for attractiveness in his environment, foremost to a whole new exhibition David Hockney: My Normandy.

Like Hockney, the pandemic led me to attract additional than I at any time have. This time by itself also taught me to embrace the thought of making one thing just because I sense like it. The arrival of an plan is enough purpose for bringing it to everyday living, no issue what the finish outcome turns out to be. Not everything we make or create has to be a masterpiece or a magnum opus. We do not want to subscribe to ideals and standards set by the Web or the elitist art planet. We need to have to acknowledge that innovative blocks and impostor syndrome could occur and go. If that happens, disengage, try out anything distinctive, truly feel bored, and return to your creativity with a clean viewpoint and renewed power.

We require to embark on a route of what I like to call gentlification — the gradual, intentional process of getting to be gentler towards oneself. The subsequent time you experience the do-some thing itch, request on your own what WH Davies did in his poem ‘Leisure‘:

What is this existence if, total of treatment, we have no time to stand and stare?

Rohini Kejriwal is a author, poet and a curator dependent out of Bengaluru. She operates The Alipore Post, a curated newsletter and journal that highlights modern day artwork, poetry, photography, new music and all things innovative. | Newsphere by AF themes.