I is for Idleness

Hello Friends,

I have always worked. I am the oldest of four children and I started changing diapers and feeding my little brother when I was about three. I babysat for years. I had a paper route at twelve. I lied and got my Food Handler’s permit at the age of 13 so that I could go to work in a deli/ice cream shop. I worked two jobs while going to school full time and raising my daughter on my own. I have always worked.

Two years ago when we moved here to Northern California for my husband’s position, I resigned from my instructional coaching position to concentrate on supporting my kids and husband with the move. I worked on our home. I made new friends. A year went by. I looked for work, but there aren’t many coaching positions available these days, in this area. So, I planted more vegetables. I filled out flower beds with new roses and other perennials. Another year went by. I added more raised garden beds to our vegetable garden. I painted my laundry room. I sorted my clothes. I wrote.

But all along I felt idle. I still feel idle. As if I am waiting for some great thing to happen. For something to break up the monotony of my days. As if idleness is truly a bad thing. I feel guilty and ill at ease in my idleness. Sure I volunteer. I am on a foundation board. I work on this blog. I knit and crochet. I make delicious meals for my family.

But I am uncomfortable in this new idleness.

My thoughts ramble. I struggle to gain momentum. I need a way to manage idleness. A way to be alright with it.

I have never enjoyed watching television and if I do watch it, I have to be sorting socks, folding laundry, dusting (not that I do that much), knitting or returning emails. I can’t just sit and do nothing. I don’t know how to be idle.

I am sure there are others who struggle with this too. This balance between militant efficiency and sloth-ish negligence. I want a rich and full life of grand discovery and love. I just think it might help me to be still and at peace with the idleness. What might happen if I allowed my mind and body to rest at the same time? Sit outside and just enjoy the new leaves on our oak trees. Look to the bird bath and just enjoy the finches playfully bathing. Close my eyes and lean back in my chair. Take a deep breath and just be.

I bet amazing things would happen.


6 thoughts on “I is for Idleness

  1. Great post! It almost reads like a story. You have a clear voice, Sara. 🙂

    I can’t be idle for too long either. I’ve been working since college, and can’t imagine not having a full time job. I’ve just had a baby daughter, and immediately went back to work after the 3 months of maternity leave. I miss my baby when I’m at work, but I’d rather miss her and work, than stay at home feeling … incomplete. Besides, she gets to socialize and have more diversity than I can offer on my own, no matter how hard I’d try, so it’s a win-win. 🙂


  2. Right after my graduation, I was unemployed for nearly an year and half. It was the most depressing and frustrating phases of my life.
    May amazing things happen.


  3. Maribeth says:

    Great post. I can relate to some of what you posted. I too have worked since I was 13 whether it was ft before kids pt when my kids were babies and now back to ft. I always have to feel like I’m contributing but I also have no problem curling up on the couch with a blanket to watch television. I love to work but I love relaxing just as much.


    • Maribeth,
      Isn’t it funny how different times in our lives call out for different approaches and needs? Kids certainly can dictate our approach to work and play. Mine are getting older now (driving age) they don’t need as much labor from me now. So the void in my purpose feels a little larger. Thanks for stopping by!


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