Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Working on Relaxing


So I am about to go on a holiday. Hawaii. For a whole two weeks. I haven’t gone away for that long for 18 years. I have had a week here and there, but not two weeks.

There was a week in a caravan at Evans Head that was so exhausting it left me in hospital with cardiac arythimia. It was possibly the shock of losing my showering thongs. But this is two weeks away. Two whole weeks without working. It seems dangerous.

What do people do when they are not working? Generally when I am kicking back at home I like to clean stuff. Like cupboards. Or under beds. What do you do when you don’t have to do anything? The whole two weeks thing feels a bit over-indulgent.

The only time I haven’t worked for that long I have generally given birth, and I don’t think you can call that a holiday. Pushing a person out a 10cm exit isn’t called ‘labour’ for no reason.

I’m not complaining. I love what I do and I realise that what I do is not typical work. There’s no digging or bending or lifting. There is however a lot of swearing, like someone who digs or bends or lifts.

Standing up and talking about myself hardly seems like a slog, but its a lot more time consuming than you’d think. There’s a lot of me to talk about. And I have to keep thinking of new stuff.

It’s exhausting finding more and more things wrong with me. You’d think there would be a bottomless pit, but I just don’t have that much insight. If I did, I guess I wouldn’t have anything wrong with me.

So that’s the paradox of the creative process. It’s not all fun fun fun. There’s also a lot of drive drive driving. When I became a comedian I never thought it would involve SO much road time. I thought it would involve glamorous gigs at beautiful theatres, where I would be whisked away by a limousine to my Lear jet.

Instead it’s a lonely stumble in an unlit car park at the back of a bowls club in a town I’ll never go back to. Sometimes I’ll drive five hours to perform a 40-minute spot. Then I get in the car and drive home. Alone. Just like Janis. Except she never played the Gympie RSL.

It will be 2am and I’ll have the radio on full blast listening to some African Radio play about a young couple going to Nigeria while slapping myself in the face. It’s not self harm. It’s self preservation.

The other night I was lined up at some roadside coffee stop with about seven fat truckers. I seriously thought about getting a hi-vis vest so I could be one of the boys. I do long haul too, instead of petrol or groceries, I haul humour up the highway.

When I’m not on the road I spend most of my day locked in an office the size of a linen press facing a screen writing shit. I don’t do ‘relax’. Relaxing tends to make me feel stressed. Like what am I not doing that I will have to do later?

There is always something. Another ping on my phone, or beep on my email, reminding me that I need to answer a query, check a date, pick something up, drop something off.

So, two weeks. I wonder what I will do. I secretly fantasise about doing nothing. About lying down and reading a book. Then having lunch, then lying down again. But I have a six-year-old so this clearly won’t happen.

I worry I might become lazy. What if I lose the will to ever do anything again? What if my work ethic perishes from too much relaxing? I’ve seen that happen. Maybe I can get a job with housekeeping.

My family never really took holidays. Holidays were for sick people and the weak. You just kept going. Until you fell over, passed out or just died. You could do nothing when you were dead. And it didn’t cost anything.

So dear reader, as you wonder over my words, know that I am in repose by a pool somewhere, trying to relearn how to do nothing. Who knows, when I come back, I may never work again. I might just take this relaxing thing up full time.


One response to “Mandy Nolan’s Soapbox: Working on Relaxing”

  1. Serena Ballerina says:

    Know the feeling Mandy! It’s a woman/wife/mother thing!

    But if you can put as much drive into doing all the things you do now, into getting into a good book, (which is not doing nothing, after all!) while relaxing your body in a beautiful location (hey, we can do that here!) I hope you come back with batteries recharged & inspired & pumped up to get back to it all again!!

    (PS: Hope the six year old has a good book too!)

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