There are two things that frame my life—naps and walks.
Sure, I have a job and a family, but those roles take care of themselves so long as I have a nap and a walk on a regular basis. Most of life entails performing repetitive tasks: shopping, cooking, eating, breathing, filing your taxes, making your bed, and occasionally actually speaking to fellow humans with a modicum of courtesy. Living in the modern world is not really very complex, and for me at least, it’s easy when it includes the aforementioned snooze and stroll.
Now, napping is, on its face, also a simple task. Close your eyes, slip through a hypnagogic state into the realm of Morpheus, and there you are. It’s very similar to going to bed at night, except it must be done during daylight hours, when others are busy at seemingly “productive” tasks. Napping can be done while prone, sitting, crumpled in a corner, or even, by truly accomplished practitioners, standing, though I do not recommend beginners attempt this technique as it can lead to bodily bruising that is hard to explain to supervisors, spouses, or law enforcement officials. It should also be noted that napping is best when there are no children or small nervous dogs nearby.
The successful napper enjoys a myriad of benefits from the practice including an improved complexion, peace of mind, and a pleasant sense of detachment from the so-called “real” world. People who nap regularly rarely commit crimes, start wars, Google inappropriately, root for the New England Patriots, or embarrass themselves or others by becoming overachievers. People who nap are a natural brake on the world’s propensity for making too much progress, or letting achievements get out of hand.
I have learned that napping is a great thing to do when facing any problem, large or small. It seems that most problems in life solve themselves. In fact, they do so most efficiently when they are ignored. Thus, grab some “zzzz’s” and your problems will simply disappear.
Walking is actually a prerequisite for napping. A good stretch of the legs prepares one for a good stretch of afternoon shut-eye. But be careful, do not confuse walking with exercise. Exercise, or “working out,” as many addicts call it, is to be avoided at all costs. The worst form of this affliction is running.
There is never any excuse for running. Mankind has wiped out most of the old predators who fed on our tasty flesh, so we are unlikely to find ourselves in a life or death chase these days. Likewise, we no longer have to pursue our own prey since a good number of grocery stores are now open 24/7. Running is simply for showoffs, and running on a treadmill? The worst form of narcissism.
Walking is simply walking. It is important not to have a destination when walking. It’s a Zen thing. Simply move your legs and begin that journey of a thousand miles with a single step, always keeping in mind that you have absolutely no intention of ever covering a thousand miles. Avoid treadmills, jogging (a “gateway” behavior), and health clubs.
Take a walk. Take a nap.
The world will be a better place.
Otis Twelve hosts the radio program Early Morning Classics with Otis Twelve on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.
This article first appeared in the March/April 2019 edition of 60PLUS in Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.