Reasons to be Cheerful – Doing Nothing


A few years ago I was in the very lucky position of being able to call hanging out with my gorgeous 6 month old niece all day a job. I’d just quit managing pubs, was saving to move to France and my Brother and Sister-in-Law needed help with the childcare, so fate stepped in and thus began the best job I’ve ever had. I can’t lie to you and say it was hard – it wasn’t. Well, it could be hard work, in the way that all 6 month olds can be hard work, but she was a very placid and adorable child and it was the most relaxing few months I’ve had since leaving school. Apart from helping out around the house and the odd night shift in a friend’s bar, I basically whiled away my time making vegetable purees (surprisingly therapeutic!), strolling in the park, brushing up on my French during nap time and meeting friends for lunch, all with my newest, cutest little buddy in tow. It was basically how I’d imagined Mummyhood would be when I was younger (please don’t hate me Mummies – I know it’s harder than that in real life. I had her three days a week and got to hand her back at night. I’m pretty sure my Brother and Sister-in-Law could also give you plenty of examples of when she was the opposite of placid and adorable). I’m still hoping my Mummyhood will look kinda similar, but I’m pretty sure I won’t have placid adorable babies, I will probably birth the spawn of satan, because that is how things tend to turn out for me… Anyway, the point of all this is that my favourite thing to do back then was to pop Keira in the buggy, meander through the park till she was dozing, then head to the local coffee shop to read a book with a caramel latte and a lemon and poppyseed muffin.

Back then, this was my daily treat. A nice little half an hour of me time before the Kikster woke up again and demanded my attention (not that that was too much of an ordeal). Thing is, I was so content with life back then that I took for granted just how much of a treat that was. I still drink coffee. Waaaaaay too much coffee. And I still try to read the odd couple of pages of a book on the bus if I can manage to engage my brain for that long, but I genuinely can’t remember the last time I sat down for half an hour with no objective other than to drink a coffee and read a book. I’ve had lie-ins, lazy hours sat in the bath, vegged on the sofa all day watching Say Yes to the Dress marathons, but for some reason not revisited my old relaxation routine.

On Saturday I was due to visit friends in London, but plans fell through. Normally this would leave me feeling twitchy – the older I get, the more obsessed I get with MAKING THE WEEKEND COUNT, as if any time spent not doing some organised activity (steam cleaning everything or re-organising the shoe collection totally count as organised activity. You didn’t think I meant INTERESTING activity did you??) is time wasted. Having had Friday off for a wedding though, I felt like I’d somehow cheated the week out of an extra day, so I decided not to flap about making new plans, but to simply do nothing. I sat outside in the sunshine, drank a coffee and read a book, and no-one spoke to me for at least an hour*. And it was awesome. Not as awesome as seeing my friends in London would have been of course, but still pretty awesome. I seriously forgot how nice it was to be surrounded by silence for a little while, and not have something that needs doing hanging over your head, even if only for a little while. Made me realise how important it is to basically do nothing from time to time. And that I seriously miss caramel lattes. Why does Cafe Nero close so early….?



*Not entirely true. The dog spoke to me. We talk all the time. Obvs.

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