Doing Nothing, Revisited

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By Jane H. Goldman

Doing Nothing, Revisited
Image Copyright Jane H. Goldman 2019

Little did I know when I published my book With No Regrets…Getting Older: Face It, Live It, Love It only seven months ago, that my piece entitled “Doing Nothing” would be so relevant to what is now going on in the world.

But little did I know that only five months later, we might be forced to “Do Nothing” because of the government’s “stay at home” order.

So as to me, who has always had problems doing nothing:

Now I wake up every morning and am glad I have “nothing to do.”

Or better said, I have nothing “I have to do.”

That is, I don’t have four events on my calendar for each day,

nor do I have two events on my calendar for each night.

In short, I have nothing on my calendar,

except what I am expecting from Amazon.

Because now for the first time ever I, like all of us, am ordered:

Not by a parent, 

Not by a spouse,

Nor worse, by a doctor,

But by the government

To stay at home

Except for something essential.

But what is essential?

We can order our food online.

We can order our supplies online.

We can even visit with our friends online.

Maybe for the first time,

For me, maybe for you,

The essential thing is to:

Accept that we have an ordered permission to stay at home

And if we want, we can choose to do…

Absolutely nothing.

Most importantly,

We don’t have to feel a bit guilty for doing just that…nothing.

Leaving everything on our must do list for a future time.

So, in answer to the question,

“What is essential now?” 

Maybe, just maybe

The essential thing is the thought that:

This stay at home order is, in part, a gift,

Allowing us a guiltless choice to either accomplish what is on our must do list.

Or, as I write in my essay:

              ‘sleep till noon

              stay in my nightgown all day

             watch old movies all day

             listen to music all day.’

And maybe we would find…

              ‘even if it meant being lazy, (we’ve) earned that right.’

Or maybe as I also wrote in that same essay 

‘…accomplishing nothing might really be accomplishing something…being idle and enjoying it doesn’t mean being lazy. It could mean being really present in the moment.’

In short, maybe this is the time to recognize that

All we need to feel okay about doing nothing

For any length of time we choose is…

To feel entitled to do just that

And if there is any time to feel entitled

Might I suggest that you, me too:

“Stay at home,” just like the government ordered and think.

This is definitely that time.


Jane H. Goldman is a renaissance woman. For many years, she was General Counsel-Vice President of Warner Bros Distributing Corporation and thereafter litigation counsel to its parent company, Time Warner Inc. She now pursues and lives her passions, which include painting, sculpting, music, and writing. In addition, she won a Drama Desk Award as associate producer of the hit comedy “Celebrity Autobiography”. She received her BA from Barnard College and her law degree from NYU. Her book, With No Regrets…Growing Older: Face It, Live It, Love It is available on Amazon.

You may also like...

1 Response

  1. Avatar Carol Ostrow says:

    Jane is a wonderful, talented writer. I loved her book and I adore her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.