Time is relative... apparently. We compartmentalize and solidify each moment so that we all have a marker by which to measure our lives and the activities we fill it with, but each of us experiences those seconds, hours, days differently. People often say that if they won the lottery or retired or for whatever reason no longer needed to work they would still keep their jobs... to do 'nothing' would be a 'little slice of death'. Balls! I say. You would fill your days with something. Something that structured each moment and gave meaning to waking up.
For over 6 months I have not 'worked' and for 6 months I've managed somehow to fill my days so that the months slip by, barely registering, till I find myself just a few weeks from Christmas; that ubiquitous landmark of our lives that fills us with dread and excitement in equal measure. But what are these 'things' that occupy my time? Some are productive efforts geared towards earning a living and advancing my 'career' while others represent little more than apathetic masturbation; a means of moving from one moment to the next with as little physical and mental effort as is possible. And I love those moments, the times of doing 'nothing'; watching asinine Police Procedurals TV shows and low-budget 1980's horror movies, constantly refreshing FB to see if someone else has been doing anything remotely interesting, having 45 minute showers, and smoking cigarettes as though each step that I bring myself closer to death is a past-time worthy of single-minded pursuit.
My days are now structured by the morning ritual of 8am alarms, coffee and a cigarette while wrestling with the online Guardian cryptic crossword, shower, FB, blog, MM, NM, back to FB, followed by protracted mental flogging for my inactivity. Some days continue in this vein for hours until the sun goes down and I can convince myself that it's too late to do anything useful today so I might as well put the next season of 'Supernatural' on and open that bottle of wine. Other days find a way of shoe-horning my ass up from behind my desk and out into the world... I like these days too, they validate and excuse the times that satiate my lazy, sloth-like personality. But I know that I need more of this and less of the other... and this is the little death of 'not-working'. I no longer have a boss to demand my attention and energy; I am alone, free, with nothing but my own sense of motivation as a guide. This is what terrifies the retired and the lottery-winner. They know that they will find something to do with their time... they are just afraid that it will be of such little consequence that they themselves will cease to mean anything.
“Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realises himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is.”
Existentialism is a Humanism by Jean-Paul Sartre 1946