What it is Like to do Nothing?

The Thought

“What I like doing best is Nothing.”
“How do you do Nothing,” asked Pooh after he had wondered for a long time.
“Well, It means just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”

– A. A. Milne (Author of Winnie the Pooh)

The real world is not deep in the hundred-acre-wood, but we all know someone like Eeyore, Winnie-the-Pooh, Rabbit and all those wonderful characters. More and more, however, people find themselves in the predicament of knowing and even becoming a Christopher Robin.

Traditionally one does not see Christopher Robin as anything but a fun loving boy in the imagination forest who is perfect for a five-year-old to aspire to and for the older adult to look on fondly and even enjoy.  Christopher Robin should not, however, inspire today’s adult population. Christopher Robin is lazy, he takes pride in laziness. That’s a good thing. After all, a five-year-old boy shouldn’t be expected to be totally about work or understand what the consequences are of just doing nothing. To top that off his nothing is actually a quality time of imagination, exploration, and idea pondering. His time listening to all the things one can’t, and not bothering, seems to actually be a healthy mental exercise for such a young lad.

Christopher Robin should not, however, inspire today’s adult population. If one has ever caught oneself lying in bed, drawing shapes on one’s popcorn ceiling, does one ever wonder to oneself: “Have you just done nothing?” Technically? No. Conceptually? Yes. One must ask themselves, is this just boredom or something deeper? While this used to be an easy answer it’s turned into a bit of a conundrum. It used to be okay to be bored for a brief stretch. That turned in a little stretch, then a long stretch. Then it became almost all the time. We chose tasks, ideas, things with end results, and we skip them.

Christopher Robin inspires this generation of people who wish to accomplish it all doing the least possible. This generation of people with all the imagination and ability to accomplish the wild imaginings of their youths, but with none of the initiative to accomplish that. Like Christopher Robin, we don’t want to grow up in the big world of dark adult life.

Christopher is to me an irreplaceable symbol of childhood. Someone to grow up with, a mirror of the growth you experience as you blossom. I won’t be able to relive my childhood, no one can. It is far better to have lived your childhood while you had it than to go find it after it has passed and this is what I fear has happened. Perhaps you say, ‘sure, laziness is bad, lack of initiative is bad, procrastination is bad, but to say it’s a societal pitfall to enjoy Nothing is a gross overstatement.’ I would say those of you believe this counter-claim are wrong. If you accomplish less you feel less content, it results in complacency.

With the number of people participating in labor force falling this make sense. With the suicide rates climbing and with every suicide, ninety attempts to occur with it, this makes even more sense. People are learning so much more about the world than they knew before and that knowledge will only increase as time goes on. The only problem is that we aren’t doing anything with it, or we’re doing the wrong things with it.

Winnie the Pooh is the tale of a child who is lost. It should not be the majority of an adult’s thoughts. Even more so, that boredom should not lead you to become a burden on society, on your parents. Yet it does. Where ambition and goals used to drive the common man, fear of goals and ambition now drive us.

“Listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering,” is a phrase meant for five-year-olds, not an adult. It’s National Winnie the Pooh day, not a lifetime.