To do nothing

background-uid-10067921I find it [insert negative emotion here] to spend most of my time doing nothing of true importance. It’s tempting and easy to get depressed (it doesn’t help that the comment of the week has been ‘I don’t know how you manage/I would be so depressed if I was you/I’m getting depressed just thinking about your situation’), it’s even easier to fixate on everything that is wrong and can’t be fixed and all the things it prevents me from doing. It’s easy to think about giving up, stopping, doing nothing.

Then I am reminded of a much quoted Stephen Hawking quote “I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”

I can call my mother on the phone and talk to her for an hour because I know that she misses me and enjoys our conversations. I can write about how it feels a little and hope that somewhere, sometime, someone read this and either feel a little less isolated or a little more supportive of someone in their lives stuck in a similar situation. I can pour myself a coffee and I most definitely still have the capacity to stop and pay attention to the beauty in life – the sound of the wind in the garden that drifts in through the open patio doors, the warmth of the cat curled into my arms and the sensation of his violent purring, the aniticipation of knowing that Chris will be home shortly to envelop me in a hug and I can ask and listen to how his day at work was.

I may not feel that I have use in a conventional sense, particularly not with things going gently downhill at the moment and I may not be able to keep up with the pace normal life seems to run at, but there is always something that can still be done. There is a James D Miles quote that always perplexes me “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” I like the sentiment –  I’m a very enthusiastic about doing something for the merit of doing it rather than doing it for a reward, but I do not agree with the supposition that there is any relationship that unequal. How is there ever a person who can do nothing for someone else? Sometimes, the most extraordinary things people do for us are both the least expected and most spontaneous.

It’s the good intentions that make life worthwhile: Chris lets me curl into his lap and cry myself asleep whilst stroking my back for hours as reads to me. The perfect pink socks my mother-in-law bought me as an Easter present that I haven’t taken off all week. It’s the unexpected email saying “see you on-line this weekend? xxx”, the gaming DVD and note that arrives in the mail, the whisper the instant I log in saying ‘x minutes to the next Wintergrasp”. I try not to have expectations of people. If you know someone like me, you know how hard it is to stay in touch. It’s even harder to keep giving when sometimes there is no getting back.  I am constantly amazed by the fact that people care.

And I still look before I cross the road. I call my mother because I know she worries. I bring Chris tea and toast when he hasn’t had time to eat. I save my Anzu summons for someone who like mounts more than I do. I try to keep up and stay in touch, but I mostly fail pretty badly on the regular stuff as my life is not reliable and I am easily distracted by the sense of urgency some symptoms just demand.

I have given up on the big plans for the future. Today, there is just today and mostly there is now. Every moment I get to choose how I spend my time. I may not always have a long list of options, but I have faith in a few guiding principles. Like Scott Adams said, “there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” It’s easy to try and do too many big things that I then leave undone because the small things just seem too insignificant. I may not be able to do much today, but I can try to do what I choose to do to the best of my ability. I can only think about one thing at a time and living in the moment is the best choice that I can make. Sometimes, there are small things that I can do and sometimes, there is nothing. Life may demand, but at a certain point in time, I have to stop. Small acts of kindness should also extend to oneself. And sometimes, the best thing I can do, is nothing.

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  1. “Sometimes, the most extraordinary things people do for us are both the least expected and most spontaneous.”

    like me sending you a picture of my gnome, waving atcha.

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