It’s nice to do nothing.

The first term of uni was a lot busier than expected. I specifically chose this program because I thought it would give me some downtime, but I definitely got caught in the hustle-and-bustle of it all. Classes weren’t too difficult, but extra-curriculars sponged up all my excess time.

Which is why Christmas Break is such a godsend. This is the first break where I don’t feel the impulse to have to work on something academic. It feels pretty great. It’s nice to do nothing.

Now there are those words my mother would probably swat me for if I ever uttered them in her presence. Your time is so valuable and so limited – by doing nothing with it, you’re wasting it.

But are you really? Because doing nothing never really happens, does it?

A friend once told me that no one can stand absolute silence. They did an experiment in the US where they led people inside a 99.99% sound absorbent room. The longest a person managed to survive there was 45 minutes. We are unable to stand the concept of nothing.

In casual conversation, “doing nothing” is akin to simply relaxing, which is arguably extremely constructive. It is through relaxing that we stop and remember all those passions we put on the backburner, and all those dreams we set aside to pursue that one big project dominating our lives. Because even if you’ve dedicated your life to something you love, there is no way that you love just one thing.

This past term, I didn’t go to the library once. My proof of residence is still sitting at the bottom of a folder somewhere, waiting for the day I’ll take the time out of my schedule to make the trek out there. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I downloaded an eBook app on my phone and read from that every night, but the fluorescent light from a phone just isn’t the same as the creamy pages of a well-worn paperback.

Residence life is great, but it also hampers my creativity. Constant interruptions are fine when resumé writing, but for other things, sometimes a train of thought can’t be recaptured when cut short. I’ve missed having hours of unhampered solitude, to fill and reshape into whatever I wanted.

It’s not just your hobbies. It’s amazing how all those little things you didn’t have time for can suddenly fill up your entire day. Having long talks with the family, learning to knit, sew and hem, picking up the piano again after four years, all those small pieces make up a peaceful sort of happiness. It’s a nice reminder of all the things you hold dear.

My two most recent reads have been Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae and The School of Night by Louis Bayard. The former is about a young schoolgirl rebelling from her home and travelling to Italy to live out her dream of becoming a photographer, while the latter is about a disgraced scholar who is reluctantly led into uncovering the treasure left by a forgotten scientist with a mysterious legacy. Can you guess which one’s the YA novel? Surprisingly, I think I like the other one better. Does this mean I’m maturing? Ew.

Wish You Were ItalianThe School of Night

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