The Art of Doing Nothing

A la plage
Watching the (super) yachts sail in and out of the harbour

This weekend, my husband Chris and I had a much needed day off work together. Shamefully, we have lived ten minutes drive from Saint Tropez for 8 weeks and have only been there once for a few hours. We were well overdue another visit, so we spent last Saturday afternoon there and had a wonderful time. One of the best things about it? We didn’t actually do anything while we were there! We had a wonderful day in the sun exploring this charismatic place, which somehow manages to maintain all the charm of a small port town while attracting celebrities, jet setters and tourists from all over the world.

Afterwards, I was a little annoyed with myself as I haven’t written a blog post for a while and I was hoping to come back from Saint Tropez with loads of information about where to eat and drink or the best places to see. And then I realised that we had a great day and it doesn’t matter at all that we didn’t do anything.
Except, we didn’t actually do nothing. We did quite a lot; we lay on the beach, sunbathed, Chris read his book, I took hundreds of photos, we had a picnic, we watched the boats sail in and out of the harbour, we walked aimlessly around the incredibly pretty old town and looked in the windows of estate agents at properties that we can currently only aspire to. When I say we didn’t do anything, I mean that we didn’t do anything productive, stressful or rushed. We weren’t working, answering emails, making phone calls, driving or any of the other things that makes up the normal humdrum routine of daily life.

In life we often put too much importance on how busy we are. I read somewhere recently that “busy is the new fine”. Ask someone how they are, they will likely reply by telling you exactly how busy they are. But being busy doesn’t mean your being productive and I’ve found that at times being busy actually stops me from focusing on my needs and prevents me from prioritising what’s important. It doesn’t make a lot of sense!

Doing nothing, or at least doing nothing much, from time to time is essential in order to thrive in this crazy, busy world.

Chris and I get on very well; we have to, we live and work together and we still don’t know many people in this area. We talk to each other a lot. However, we do spend a lot of time talking about work. Not today though. Switching off and doing nothing was so good for us. We didn’t talk about work or our to do lists or what we needed to get from the supermarket. Instead we talked about where we should go on our next day off, what our ideal house would be like, which yacht in the harbour we would prefer to own, which restaurants in St Tropez we wanted to try (short answer, all of them, but top of the list is the stunning Auberge des Maures with it’s vine covered “ceiling”). Doing nothing, especially if you choose to do nothing with someone else, can be a fantastic way to really connect with others.

Wandering through the colourful, well manicured streets of Saint Tropez, looking at restaurant menus, property details in the estate agent windows and admiring the quirky boutiques was not only relaxing, but also motivating and invigorating. I feel like there is a lot more to explore in Saint Tropez, despite it’s small size. I really wanted to write something when we got back because I felt really inspired and have a lot of ideas for blog posts just from things I saw or things we discussed that afternoon. I just need to find time when I’m not too busy so that I can actually write them!

Doing nothing is also so good for helping you to refuel and can help you to recharge your batteries when you’ve been a little bit too busy. It’s impossible to be busy all the time and to be constantly on the go. It’s exhausting, stops you from enjoying life and appreciating the small things. On Saturday evening I felt completely recharged. I felt as if the sun had literally been charging my batteries as I was lying on the beach. We had such a lovely time, basking in the sun with absolutely no intention of doing very much else. We plan to do it more often. We actually set ourselves a “goal” of going to the beach at least once a week!

If you spend time in French villages you are likely to see locals playing petanque. Sometimes they will be drinking pastis, but they will always be chatting and taking their time over proceedings, often playing for hours. There’s also a reason why French cafe culture is reverred. Sitting for hours drinking coffee, reading a book, chatting with friends or even just watching the world go by. It’s a wonderful way to spend time and the French take this time very seriously. Revelling in the art of doing nothing, what could be more French than that?

Thanks for reading.
A bientôt,
Catherine xx

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