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You Need A Time Out

Yesterday, I took a long walk after work. For once, I had nothing to do, nowhere to be. And I desperately wanted some air after a long day stuck in an oxygen-free cubicle watching my brain melt onto my desk.  

So I just walked. No destination. No mission. Except to get some wind in my hair. I ended up in place I’d never been, on a hill I’d never seen, and in time for the sunset, too, which I watched until the moon came up and the day was gone for good.

It was amazing. I don’t just mean the sunset. I mean the chance to simply sit. And be. To let my mind go wherever it wanted for as long as it wanted to. To listen for the secret thoughts I haven’t been able to hear through all life’s clatter and static.

The last thought I had, as I picked myself up to walk home, was the biggest of all: I don’t get many (if any) chances to do that, and nobody I know does either. The whole world feels like it’s buzzing and beeping 24/7 and jammed with screaming screens that follow us everywhere, always poking and pinging and never giving us a moment to catch our breath and rediscover our hearts.

That’s trash.

As I sat with the sun, my mind meandered to an old poster my mom had over her desk. “Go placidly amid the noise and haste,” it said. “Remember what peace there may be in silence.” There’s truth in those words. We have to give our inner selves a place to stretch and wander. It’s the only way get to who we really are, someone we’ll never find in a world of distractions.

The biggest gift we can give ourselves is an empty hour and no need to fill it. Like a dog on a leash, our minds need that space to run. Our souls need that room to play. Without it, who will we be? What do we become? Just lost, I think. And that’s a fate I think we should defy.


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