I am not one to languish. I am the first to admit to being a Type-A, planning, achieving, goal-setter. I don’t just have mere ‘new years resolutions’; I have developed a sophisticated yearly goal-hierarchy system, linked to a capstone Theme, with performance measures and time-frames. I have a calendar of monthly ‘deep clean’ priorities around my house (this month: screens!). I book in a monthly Money Date Night with my husband where we review our budget and update our Net Wealth spreadsheet. I closely track my sleep, BMP, and exercise in my FitBit. My fridge displays our family’s weekly meal plan and shopping list. My phone is a virtual smorgasbord of tracking and productivity tools. Hell, even committing to a half Cannonball Read is a structured way to bring the joy of books into my life.
In short: I am absolutely shit at doing nothing and should be the target demographic for this book. And, with that in mind, I thought: what better time than a pandemic to pick it up and commit to change?
I made it [checks kindle stats] 38% of the way through this book before giving up. It reads like a scholarly dissertation by someone who comes off as incredibly privileged. I learned a bit about Greek philosophy, bird watching, and insufferable composers. But I haven’t reached a point in the book where I’ve read anything which remotely motivates me to continue to the very end (where, I understand, the final chapter does give some practical advice).
Perhaps the book itself is a test? In order to reach the useful information at the end, you must learn to slow down and be content to read Odell’s meandering research and loosely connected threads and facts…?
I wish I had discovered this book a decade ago, when I was single, mortgage-less, and childless… When I was free to stare at paintings in an art gallery for hours when the mood struck… When I had time to sit in the park daily and practice ‘deep listening’… When I didn’t need to squeeze my rare opportunities to read a book into the time that my toddler naps (if any). But, perhaps because of where I am in my life, I did not enjoy this book and am genuinely relieved to give up on it.
At this point in my life, I am comfortable with failing at ‘doing nothing’. It’s served me pretty well up until this point.
I might revisit this book one day, when I retire. Perhaps then I will be able to overlook my issues with the book and finally learn the ins-and-outs of Nothingness.
But, until then, I’ve got laundry to do, a dishwasher to empty, and a driveway to weed.
2 Nesting Night Herons out of 5.