The idea behind ‘Doing Nothing’ and why it should be brought back

5 min


There is a special nostalgia associated with being a 90s kid.

We were a blessed (or cursed) generation; the first ones to witness technology explode in to our personal lives and frankly speaking, take control of it entirely. More interestingly, we were the last ones who lived through the diminishing habits of the prior generations. One of those habits was doing nothing. It might sound absurd but doing nothing was a common feature of our childhood, albeit diminishing. We were growing in a rapidly changing environment and losing the privilege to do nothing. While the Generation Z adapts faster, learns quicker and achieves more – the quality of life has suffered massively. The cut throat competition that persists in the society today has scared people into following the herd mentality, much like Mr. Virus in 3 idiots who famously proclaimed ‘Life is a race. if you don’t run ahead of everyone, you’ll get crushed’.

I see kids today and boy, they are burdened! They out perform the younger me by a country mile, but are they enjoying what is supposed to be the only time they can shun responsibilities?

Childhood has been likened by many to be a blissful solace. A beginners guide to the troubles of adulthood where the ‘problems’ don’t consist of overdue rent but broken crayons. Can that be said of today?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all in for extra curricular and academic excellence.

Today’s teen is enrolled in the toughest of academics, then they have to go audition for the school play, he is part of the schools sports team and attends debates and MUNs and what not. Like a programmed robot, they go to sleep and wake up and follow a routine. 2 months off? Enrolled in summer school or computer courses. The parents have this fear of downtime because ‘you can always be doing something’.

A teenager with no familiarity to doing nothings leads to an adult with anxiety because ever so often there is nothing to study, nothing to clean and nothing to do. They want to sit and watch Netflix but can’t sit long enough. They address their juniors for ‘wasting’ time and ferry their kids to extracurricular.

Do we even realize how important free time is for mental health? How a break from routine and nothing to do, cultivates creative thought processes. Think about it. Would creativity excel in an entrapped environment? When a kid is laded with a bag that strains his back and a schedule that leaves only enough to sleep sound, there is no way he dreams creative. No way he dreams like a certain Walt Disney or Dave Chapelle would.

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This was triggered by my conversation with my 10 year old cousin.

He told me his weekend routine which included tuition, sports classes and Quran classes and he asked me what was I doing and I just shrugged my shoulders. The look on his face was as if I had cursed in front of him. His expression sounded like what did you just say?. He went ahead to tell me some things I can do and I quickly shut him up.
‘No, you don’t understand. I ‘plan’ on doing nothing.’
‘But you could..’
‘No. That is the plan. I’m gonna rest.’
And that is when it struck me. These kids don’t know what it’s like to be free.

So this is the plan. Bring back lazy Sundays. Bring back the long lost charm of waking up on Saturdays to watch the latest cartoons.

The lonely walks where you talk to your inner self.
Bring back the right to breathe and procrastinate. The right to throw your bag on Friday and not looking at it again till Sunday night. Th right (rather privilege) to doing nothing at all. It should be brought back with a passion.

Because if you are running at 100% top speed all the time with no recharge then your battery will inevitably die – and probably at the worst possible time.

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