The other day, I got out of the shower with my brain overflowing with creative ideas. I could hardly dry off quick enough as I stumbled to my partner’s bedroom, flung open my computer, and began writing. About an hour later, he would come upstairs to find me still wrapped in a towel feverishly typing “before the ideas left my brain.”
It’s nice to have showers that spark inspiration like that. Which is why, in anticipation of wanting to work on a new creative endeavor a few days later, I told my roommate I was about to take a long shower to think. Surely, I would again fly out of the tub with soap in my elbow creases to put down the next great American novel.
It felt like a blink and as I was preparing to turn the water off, I realized I hadn’t thought about a single thing, so much so, that I barely remembered lathering my hair with shampoo or washing my body.
There was a momentary feeling of disappointment as I slothed to my room and scribbled on my white board: nothing in brain showers.
For a split second, it felt like maybe I’d let myself down. I hadn’t made the most of this completely uninterrupted thinking time. I would have to start the word document from scratch.
But as I put my dry erase marker down, it hit me that a “nothing in brain shower” was probably exactly what I needed.
There are times for fervent brainstorming and rapid fire ideas. And there are times for nothingness. For going through the motions. For completely turning off the mind.
In this tale of two showers, I consider them both equally important. The first, giving me spark and inspiration. The second, giving me much needed silence and rest.
Perhaps not everything has to be optimized. Or rather, perhaps the nothingness is the thing that truly optimizes.
Because after all, the quiet of that time still gave me enough inspiration to pull together one blog post—a nice reminder that even nothingness can turn into somethingness with a little breathing room.