The Art of Doing Nothing

15 Minute Read –

When I was in the second grade, my teacher gave me a progress report that said “Lizzie, doesn’t utilize her time well.” I have been annoyed by that assumption ever since.

I think one of my biggest assets is “time utilization.” Ask my staff, who get emails and the occasional accidental text from me at three in the morning. I’m a doer with a head full of ambitions that run suicide sprints up and down my brain with such urgency they often bump into each other. I change directions sporadically. I design chairs, but hardly sit in them. And sometimes my mind outruns my mouth by such a distance I finish one sentence with an idea for another. We live in a world that demands excellence and attention to succeed. You can’t sleep through the game…or can you?

I know that it’s important to take time away from your daily grind. I’m sure any of you entrepreneurs or small business owners out there will agree that “time” is precious and hard to find when you have 10 or more people to direct. Between taking care of clients and directing your staff (whom you are also training to take the reigns and grow the company as well as themselves) exhaustion can set in.

I’ve technically been on vacation since Wednesday, but due to a belated summer busy season and the fact that there are some fresh eyes working for me I’ve spent an average of five hours on the phone a day…hardly something I’d call a vacation. And when you consider how this is on the heels of 50 consecutive 10 hour days, I was left with only one option – I shoved my phone in the refrigerator. And then forgot I put it in there and spent an entire afternoon hunting for it. I think it’s time for a break.

That said, it took five days for my body and brain to break down enough to allow me just one day for myself?! Anyone know that feeling? It wasn’t until I got on the kayak last night at sunset that I finally let go and let the current softly rock the worries out of me. At that moment I remembered how much I love the people that work for me and how much I trust them to do their best. But if I’m being honest, I’M STILL WORRIED, DAMMIT. I’m assuming it’s like having kids. What do you do when they leave the nest?

Well, here is what I’ve come up with. First, I’m going to blog about it because blogging has long been one of those ambitions that have been forced to duck for cover whenever a herd of new ideas comes stampeding through my cerebrum. I run a productive, funny, loving company. We’re pioneers on the most popular street in Venice Beach and I’m proud to say we are one of the original surviving establishments. “The last bastion of brick and mortar retail,” my father used to say. So, if there’s a lesson in this, it’s about perseverance and the need for a break in order to stay on top.

Next, I think I’ll share some photos of the small beach community I have a cottage in. It’s a rustic place where families have gathered for generations. It’s where I grew up and needed to return to in the year my father was dying. He was happy that returning here (if only for summer holidays) meant something to me. This place fills my soul to the absolute brim. That being said, I’d like to take this moment to tell you that my cottage (and it’s soul-filling capabilities) are entirely rentable on Airbnb at a competitive rate (link here) should you ever want to visit. Thought this was going to be all lovey-dovey, huh? I am a small business owner, remember?

Lakehouse Straight on

Lakehouse Water

Lakehouse Trees 2

Lakehouse Water 2

Lakehouse Boat

Lakehouse Trees Sunset

Although my current location is a gold mine for antiquing. I’m not going to do that today. Right now, the thought of shopping for home furnishings might as well be giving me post-traumatic night terrors, so instead, I’m going to look at what I already own and maybe move a few things around, but, for the sake of my temporary serenity, I think it’s important to stay out of any moving vehicles. I will, however, include the following antique shops as destinations should you happen to pass through.

RCS Auctions
212 Lake Shore Drive East
Dunkirk NY 14048

Westfield Antique Mall
58 East Main St
Westfield NY 14787

So, back to the art of doing nothing. For me, that means a little mental cleansing through writing, a lot of wandering with no direction and no matter what happens my phone stays on airplane mode.

I guess we all need to find our happy place and be present. The art of doing nothing is just as important as the practice of doing things. It’s a needed exercise for your body and brain and when it’s all said and done you’re able to remember that your phone is slowly dropping in temperature on the second shelf between the orange juice and last night’s eye round roast.

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