What Did You Learn?

Growing up in my house, we weren’t allowed to waste time. We always had to be productive. We weren’t suppose to be watching anything that wasn’t educational. Even if we got to watch a cartoon, my dad would ask, what did you learn?
— Venus Williams in the December ’17 issue of Fast Company Magazine

Lately I’ve become acutely aware of how difficult it is for me to enjoy any form of down time. Those brief interludes throughout the day in which you try to convince yourself that it’s ok recharge but then suddenly you’re overtaken by guilty.

I feel as though I’m suppose to be frantically chasing productivity hence why I very often dismiss the idea of allowing myself to do absolutely nothing by perhaps laying in bed, allowing my mind to wander. I feel obligated to always be “on” and “committing” only to activities that serve a deep purpose for whatever personal goal I’ve set for myself. Immediately I’m brought to the realization that I need to chill the f*ck out.

A lot of this sentiment potentially traces back to when I became a parent. We all know time is limited, time is always ticking, so it’s natural to feel there should be no room for wasting it. Eventually I realize there’s a lot to be said for “doing nothing” especially since the research clearly states that “it’s when doing nothing that we finally confront what matters.”

I may have occasionally pressed my son to always do something productive with his time but I’ve learned to step back, I’ve allowed him to explore and be curious about things outside of school even if for me it seems like he’s simply wasting time.