doing nothing · Thing 1 · Thing 2

Thing One, Thing Two

Someone asked me what I do all day, and I said ‘nothing’. I not only didn’t immediately respond, but when I did that was my answer: Nothing.

Meaning, I don’t have plans or schedules, or if I do I attempt to limit them to one a day.

When talking with other ex-pats about this I get different responses. Some folks are involved in volunteer activities, some stay busy in social circles, others attend lots of cultural events that are abundant in San Miguel, some take regular walks, and of course, many travel throughout Mexico visiting other cities.

One woman explained she had a rule she had to do at least 1 or 2 things every day.

“Is one of those activities just getting out of bed?” I asked.

“No,” she assured me. “It might be going to the post office, buying groceries, meeting someone for lunch or dinner, walking my dog, attending a concert or play, working with my gardener, or sharing a bench in a nearby park with someone I don’t know.”

To me, those endeavors amount to ‘nothing’ compared to my life before SMA (San Miguel de Allende). If all I did during a 24-hour period while in the states was going to the grocery store I would surmise I had done not one thing.

However, in Mexico the pace is different, expectations are not the same, requirements less demanding. Life is more casual than previously experienced. And I love it.

Taking the woman’s advice, I have accomplished my one or two things for the day. I walked my doglet (that is another post I will write as one of my deeds for a future day) to a dog park and he played while I sat in the shade reading the morning news. I will count that as only one action. And, my second important (well, maybe not so important, depending on who is judging) undertaking is writing this column.

Tomorrow I will attend a discussion group I find interesting, and again, walk the dog. Now, dog walking may not seem like such a big deal to most of you, but trust me, in SMA, walking on cobble stone streets is not for timid steppers. It takes bravery and good balance to venture out onto the streets and sidewalks of this bustling city, and particularly with a doglet fearful of loud noises, people, and other dogs. SMA is filled with all of those things.

Wednesday, I will have lunch with a group of friends (Thing 1), and attend a workshop on writing a Mexican living will, since one done in the U.S. isn’t honored south of the border, and that will be Thing 2.

As is evident, my days of doing ‘nothing’ keep me active enough, since I walk to all these events. In fact, now that I think about it, that makes Thing 3…walking. I usually get in 3-5 miles a day, which allows me to do Thing 4: stop and get a wonderful Mexican pastry between the various ‘Things’.

Just think about all the things we do every day discounted as not being important. No wonder we are stressed when we add job, cooking, cleaning, child rearing, volunteering, and posting on Facebook to our schedules!

No wonder I love Mexico with only Thing 1 and Thing 2 to do each day. Life is good.

13 thoughts on “Thing One, Thing Two

  1. Yes, all that sounds right. That¹s what I do in SMA too. But it makes me feel like a regular whirlagig on this side of the border. Yesterday I did my yoga, hiked boot hill, cleaned the studio for the next guest, and knocked on doors and handed out political leaflets (which included talking to my neighbors). Then I did nothing in the afternoon. Or evening. Oh. I did work on taxes, organized my bookkeeping, and studied the condo contract while writing notes for Ivy. Which I haven¹t sent yet. Today was simpler. Just boot hill and canvassing. And reading a novel. Does that count?

    I tried helping out at the school last week, but it wasn¹t a success. The teacher I was working with doesn¹t want me to teach anything but composition and then only by working individually with students. That¹s not interesting enough to keep me in Ridgway for the winters.

    And I go to meetings. We¹ve set up tables and tried to register voters but without much success. Everyone seems to already be registered. Our Indivisible chapter is meeting weekly now to figure out what else we can be doing. Our Dem county chair is doing nothing at all. He¹s pretty much disappeared from sight. So Indivisible is tackling the task of getting out the Dem vote this fall.

    And then there are the fund-raisers. I go to those to hear the candidates speak and encourage them to get some sleep and keep up their energy for the next 58 days.

    I still spend a lot of time just sitting and staring. I don¹t know if I¹m gestating or just going senile. I think about how the nursing homes line up the old folks in rockers on the porch, and it sounds pretty good.

    From: that little voice Reply-To: that little voice Date: Monday, September 10, 2018 at 2:28 PM To: Paula James Subject: [New post] Thing One, Thing Two that little voice posted: “Someone asked me what I do all day, and I said Œnothing¹. I not only didn¹t immediately respond, but when I did that was my answer: Nothing. Meaning, I don¹t have plans or schedules, or if I do I attempt to limit them to one a day. When talking with”


  2. I find that I am very good at doing nothing. I do limit the number of “productive” things I do each day, because I think at this age it’s important to have lots of time do do things just because I want to – not because I must.


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