Disney Or a few words on not being productive

Private Disney Day 2/2017

Dear future self,

I won’t tell you there are many different forms of being unproductive – yet there are…

There is the classical form of doing nothing or nothing useful. There is the more sophisticated version of doing it (whatever „it“ is) but doing it all wrong. And there is the high art of purposefully avoiding the assigned tasks while searching for totally inappropriate alternatives to distract oneself. But then again there are also more subtle forms of idleness.

You know that feeling of absolute insignificance? Your own as well as anything and anyone else’s? The feeling of not using your potentials to your best advantage? Or to even any meaning at all? The feeling of what I call “Gammeltag”? (Sort of German for idling around all day without purpose, aiming at nothing and achieving nothing more useful than watching the hours tick by…) In my case it always starts out with not getting dressed in the morning and telling myself that it’s ok and I don’t need to look beautiful and appealing for my own four walls. And more often than not, that is, where Disney steps in.

Yesterday my friend and I had an absolutely unproductive day. Or so it felt. It wasn’t unproductive in the classical sense of “doing nothing” or „not quite enough“ or even „not doing, what we planned to do“, but in the end we where totally unproductive, leading to being tired (simply mentally and physically tired) while not using our mental and physical capacity to our whatsoever advantage. After doing so for around 10 hours we where ready to call it a night. ♫♫ Don’t let the frost b… ♫♫ Ah sry … wrong number …

It all started with us both being pure unwavering Disney freaks. We adore most of the movies, we appreciate the merchandise (as long as it looks genuine), we try to find all the hidden clues and secret references to other Disney movies and can recite most of the dialogues by heart (in English as well as in German and on occasions in other languages too…). As for yesterday we had planned – simple as it is – a Disney day. Well it wasn’t that easy, to be fair. We are quite talkative when it comes to being in the same room for more than a second and so our long planned and painfully awaited movie day eventually began at around 1:30 pm. On our To Do list where quite more than the eventually watched five films, but you have to keep in mind, there is so much more to the movies than just the film. Our first choice was The Lion King (naturally)! It was positively unexpected for me to watch the film in German after seeing it so many times in English. We both felt instantly put back in time to the day when we first watched it as kids. It was amazing. But we wondered and still do: How on earth did we understand the meaning of the films when we where little? There are so many hidden (not always g-rated) references and actually quite a few sophisticated phrases a five year old couldn’t possibly understand. So after watching our way through Tangled, The Secret Life of Pets (not quite Disney but who will judge?), Aristocats and Frozen we felt as tired as if running a whole marathon at high speed. Memo to self: It can be quite exhausting to watch away a whole day without physically exercising oneself (and I don’t even talk about sports).

So that feeling of utter exhaustion made me wonder. What about all the people that constantly idle through their not quite satisfying lives? What about all the long time unemployed people who don’t have the need to be productive? Well, in some ways I’m refering to Paul F. Lazarsfeld’s and Marie Jahoda’s  research of the early 1930s.

It’s not like I hadn’t thought about that before. I ask myself quite often, what constant laziness would do to one’s mind (not the body, ’cause that’s obvious). And I don’t talk about cell division, people growing older, things like that … It’s fairly simple: If even one day of total laziness makes you feel utterly knocked out, how about a few weeks of unpurposeful idling? How about a month, a year, or even longer? If you kill time day by day by day without feeling the necessity of being productive, what does that do to you? And isn’t it easy today, with all that unprofitable ways of distraction? Ah well, there are many unproductive things, like for example game-playing (which I so very much like…), spending time on collecting useless knick-knacks (yet another of my many flaws), reading the same book over and over (never done that in my life *chrmchrm*), aimlessy clicking through YouTube-Videos or Pinterest-Photos until late at night or early in the morning. Nope, never done something like that…

But then again, I wonder. What if someone used to idling gets back to work? And is it really that unproductive to do something over and over without any tangible benefit to it? For how long can you do it without causing permanent damage? And do I really want to know? I presume not …

Maybe anytime anywhere in the future I will have an answer to one or the other question. But right now, I tend to acknowledge at least some benefit to constant idling. Even if not always the one hoped for and even if not always right in time.

But I truly believe, that people, who tend to do nothing productive for far longer than they should have, will have quite a few problems finding their way back to a meaningful every day life and quite a few more to being able to manage a typical workday. So to what conclusion will that lead? Honestly? I don’t know. And honestly, I don’t want to become someone to find out.


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