It’s an oxymoron.  By retreating from the world, by sitting behind my computer for hours on end, with my fingers glued to the keyboard, I somehow experience life most deeply.  I always thought that the best way to experience life was by seizing every potential adventure and living every moment to the fullest.  For so many years, I was go, go, go.  But now, with the unceasing demands of our over-connected, over-stimulating culture constantly intruding into my days, I often find that my most precious time is spent sitting alone, writing, reflecting, or simply staring off into nothingness.    

            So here it is – my confession -- my deep dark secret -- I looooove to sit on the couch and do nothing.  (Note:  That may already be obvious to anyone who catches sight of my posterior – and to you, dear friends and family, I say “Keep your opinions and your snickers to yourself!”)  Yes, I too used to mock the old folks, sitting on the porch doing nothing.  I used to wonder how they could bear to live inside their own skin, with all that nothingness and boredom around them.  I coveted productivity, like so many overachieving A-type personalities.  And I feigned productivity whenever somebody walked into the room.  (Note to other writers – you’re pretending to be productive right now, aren’t you?  You’re pretending that reading blogs is actually “studying your craft.”  Go on, admit it.  No one is watching – or you wouldn’t be reading this.) 

I discovered that I love to do nothing, purely by accident.   My husband left to drive my daughter to school, as he does every Tuesday and Thursday morning.  I sat on the couch, too tired to move, and sipped my coffee.  Forty minutes later, I heard his car pull back into the driveway.  I realized I hadn’t moved in the forty minutes.  FORTY MINUTES.  Now I’m not the meditating type and I used to be one of those people who couldn’t bear to sit still.  But here I was still in my pajamas, hair still disheveled, house still a mess.  The only sign that time had passed was that my coffee cup was now empty.  When I heard the car door slam, I panicked.  I couldn’t let my husband see me like this.  Before he walked through the front door, I scampered into my office, where I immediately made myself look busy at my desk.  He was so used to seeing me sitting at my desk all day, still in pajamas, hair still disheveled, house still a mess, that he didn’t suspect a thing. 

And then the following Thursday, it happened again.  My husband took my daughter to school –forty minutes of absolute BLISS.  And then on Tuesday, it happened yet another time.  And soon enough, I was starting to look forward to my Tuesday and Thursday mornings, when I could do nothing at all without getting caught.  I started pouring bigger cups of coffee, so I wouldn’t have to get up for a refill.  And I was surprised to find that, week after week, forty minutes would pass, I was consistently still on the couch.  And finally, after many weeks, when I heard the car door slam, I didn’t get up.  Truth be told, I was just too lazy to scurry away.  My husband walked in the door, and there I was.  I had no choice -- I admitted everything.    

Now every Tuesday and Thursday, when I’m lucky enough, I don’t get up for those forty minutes, except perhaps to open the blinds, so I can stare out the window and watch the leaves flickering in the light breeze, as I hope that my neighborhood squirrel will scamper through my trees. Sometimes, of course, I sit in the hammock instead of on the couch.  I think it’s important to stir things up every once in a while.  I may even take my journal out to the hammock, but I hardly write in it when I’m there.  I’m too busy staring off into space to actually focus my thoughts on the page.  Oh yes, and every once in a while, I might get up to pee.  After all, I am drinking the super jumbo size mug of coffee. 

And when I’m done doing nothing, if I’m really, really lucky, I take a little time to write.  And then, as I sit at my keyboard, staring into a screen, I paradoxically dive deep into life.  I write about my experiences, family life, something that made me chuckle, or perhaps, my new favorite thing, nothing at all.  This retreating from the bustle of daily living allows me to slide into the moments that make up my life, swim around in them, and somehow become more attuned to life itself.  Sometimes, life passes so quickly, I don’t have time to savor it.  Writing gives me the chance to let it all soak in.  It lets me plunge into the best moments of the day, taste them over and over, and float in the sweetness of being alive.