Rule 24 Leave A Little Space for Yourself Each Day

As promised, this will be my last post about the Rules of Life. I’m glad that I’ve fulfilled my promise and I’m over and done with my unsolicited preaching πŸ™‚ Rule 24 doesn’t really smack of bells and whistles in the holier than thou department. In fact it is looks so stupidly simple yet it does wonders when you subscribe to the author’s idea and actually do it.


β€œMost people think they get this but most people might be wrong. You may think you have little quality time each day for yourself but I bet you don’t. You see, even in our time alone we spend so much of it worrying about others, caring for our family, friends and loved ones, that there is very little left over entirely for ourselves. What I am proposing isn’t revolutionary or difficult or extreme. In fact it is pretty easy. Just leave a little space for yourself each day. Perhaps only 10 minutes (ideally half an hour) put aside and devoted entirely to yourself. Selfish? You bet. Of course, it is and justifiably so – you are the engine, the driving force, the motivator, the rock. You need the time to regenerate, renew, reinvigorate yourself. You need that downtime to recharge and repair. If you don’t, you aren’t taking on fresh fuel, your engine will run down and so will you.

So what are you going to do with that time? Answer: absolutely nothing. And I do mean nothing. This isn’t the time for lying in the bath, sitting on the loo, meditating, reading the newspapers or sleeping. This is a little space for you, a breather, a time to sit still and absolutely do nothing. Just breathe. I find 10 minutes sitting in the garden just breathing is a fantastic boost a couple of times a day. I sit there, not thinking, not doing, not worrying, just being while I appreciate the pleasure of being alive.

I discovered the Rule when I was a teenager. I found it invaluable as a way of purging myself of angst and worries. My mother used to call out to me. β€œWhat are you doing?” To which the reply was inevitably, ” Nothing”. And she would always reply, “Well, come here and I’ll find you something to do”. She also used to say :” You’ll never amount to anything by having your head stuck in a book”. And the one I loved the most: “No one needs to think as much as you do.” How do you answer that?

If I find time spent doing nothing really important and as soon as I complicate it, it loses something. If I add a cup of coffee to my solitude, then it’s coffee break and not space for me. If I listen to music, then it’s a music break. If I have a companion with me and I chat, then it’s a social occasion. If I read the papers, then I have moved away entirely from the concept of a little space for me. Keep it bare. Keep it pure. “


I mentioned in my one of my earlier posts that my second favorite pastime when we went on a boat cruise last December was sitting in the lounge chair in my stateroom’s balcony and gazing at the sea. There wasn’t anything magical or spectacular about the open sea but there was that eerie peace and quiet in my being that was thoroughly refreshing and invigorating. I may have daydreamed for a bit but for the most part my mind was in pause mode, not worrying nor thinking about problems. I suspected that my habit was a sign of aging when I remember my grandfather sitting in his rocking chair idling away for hours. The Rules author thinks not and I believe him.

Most of us live a frenzied, fast pace life that the quiet time, that little space for yourself becomes a necessity more than choice. Too much noise, too much crowd, too much talking can also give you that cramped feeling that can be nauseating sometimes. My quiet time is always after dinner when I feel exhausted after talking to my wife for hours LOL. I love women who talk a lot but I can only take so much πŸ™‚ I normally sit in the couch in the family room just idling my time . These days I could light the fireplace and just sit in the couch with one side table lamp on. I would blog for an hour or so, watch TV and go to bed. Occasionally I take a blanket and sleep in the couch until morning.

I am an extrovert by nature and I love to be around people yet I long for that quiet time at night. Do you find the need to be left alone sometimes or are you the type of person who draws strength and stability from the people around you all the time ?


26 Responses

  1. “10 minutes sitting in the garden just breathing is a fantastic boost a couple of times a day”

    this is great idea, i should do this! thnx for sharing BW..

  2. Iskoo – you’re welcome bro. Great that you have a garden to go to and smell the roses πŸ™‚ Here it’s all snow πŸ™‚

  3. Oh this is no problem for me. I spend almost all of my free time alone anyway, hahaha. πŸ˜€

  4. Great suggestion! I have so much stress in my life right now, so I will definitely try this. But we don’t have a garden, and we don’t have a fireplace. πŸ˜› Hmm, but I can always go to the park and meditate at the pond, amongst the ducks and the kois (carps). Good luck na lang sa lamig haha.

  5. Sngl – I bet you have that luxury of time pal πŸ™‚ When my family was on vacation in Pinas for 3 weeks in Jan I had lots of space for myself too πŸ™‚

  6. Kathy – that’s a good idea provide the quack quacks don’t distract you πŸ™‚ I tell you I had made some of my life-changing decisions in the serenity of the mountains and I’ve never regretted one bit πŸ™‚

  7. Hmmmm, this is quite an interesting idea, taking time for oneself by just doing nothing. Usually, even if I spend time by myself, its either I am reading a book or watching tv; but doing exactly ‘nothing’, haven’t done that yet.

    Maybe I’d try to watch the stars tonight like you did on that cruise ship, maybe I’d have calmness and peace as you had.

  8. Major Tom – consistent with what the author says, it’s a recharging process πŸ™‚ You bet – gazing the moon and the stars at night in a balcony or something looks pretty relaxing to me πŸ™‚

  9. Last post on Rules of Life. Jeez, I need to make a quick review of the previous ones.

    Ummmm… makes me think, what do I do to de-stress? I walk, walk, walk in the mall, without really intending to buy anything. I do the walking alone, nobody with me, even my daughter who always tags along almost everywhere I go. I am shooting three birds with one stone here – cardiovascular exercise, check out items for possible purchases and meditate, observe people around.

    I’m linking you, BW. Hope it’s okay with you. πŸ™‚

  10. I am also an extrovert but I also need solitude from time to time. I guess everybody needs it.

    Sometimes the chaos of the city drives me insane so its always good to go home because it’s peaceful and quiet in the province.

    Thanks for sharing this Big Bro

  11. This is a great thing to do. We all need this. I also subscribe to a personal mantra that I have to treat myself every payday. Rewarding myself for all the hardwork. It could be a massage, etc.

    For 10 minutes of doing nothing is really relaxing. πŸ™‚

  12. The same with snglguy, only this time I spend it mostly on front of P.C. Instead of walking from home to Eglinton mall first thing in the morning and do my daily walk there for an hour or two. I’l try to take it back by dancing a lot.

    That’s what i did in years, sat down in one of the tables by the food court after a morning walk, relax for 30 minutes or so and ready for another day.

  13. I think any activity deemed “purposeless” can be a form of meditation as well, though active. Learned the difference between passive and active meditation when I dabbled into Zen. Thought that remaining still for a certain amount of time was what meditation was all about until I learned the true essence of karate, tea ceremony, archery, flower arrangement, and brush painting.

    It wasn’t until this realization when I came to understand why my brother would spend half an hour every evening fiddling with his car — that it was after all, his chosen form of meditation; a sacred time he allotted for himself.

  14. Rhodora – that’s really hitting three birds with one stone esp if you do it alone without the distractions. I do the same thing at the mall plus I would sit on the bench and just idle my time for a few minutes – with coffee in hand πŸ™‚

    Sure, my leasure and and I will link you too.

  15. Verns – You’re welcome, Lil Sis πŸ™‚
    The province is much more peaceful I agree. There you can have the peace and quiet you desire almost anytime. Even the sound of birds can have a calming effect on you πŸ™‚

  16. Ipanema – funny you said that because one of the Rules of Life – Rule 37 is Look After Yourself πŸ™‚ Yep, there is nothing wrong when you pamper yourself with something special once a month. Being on the train by default twice a day gives me the opportunity to idle out, sitting doing nothing if I’m not reading or sleeping πŸ™‚

  17. Vic – that’s great when you walk an hour every day. Haven’t been to Eglinton mall in ages ( lived near Lawrence and Eglinton once) but you must be one of those Pinoy bros I see congregating in the food court tables every afternoon ! That sure is relaxing πŸ™‚

  18. Eric – I know what you mean. I guess I’m doing that too when I’m cleaning my golf clubs, arranging my golf bags when there is no reason for doing so – but I enjoy it tremendously πŸ™‚

  19. I guess most people in big cities are living an unnatural life with a lot of noise, stress and information overload. Taking a 10 min break from all the madness is for sure not a bad idea! Can we make it 15 min, please! πŸ˜‰

  20. Sidney – how true. Even TV is information overload:) I no longer subscribe to newspapers believe me, let alone disposing of it ! There’s free dailies at the train station which summarizes the news of the day. That to me cuts the deal on getting informed πŸ™‚ 15 mins of absolute idleness – I go with that!

  21. this is weird but when I’m home, I would normally wake up from the shouts and yells of our neighbor calling her kids…somehow I find “peace” in that too…

  22. Verns – I guess your neighbors give you pretty good company πŸ™‚ Many Pinoys become depressed when they come to live here. The usual question they ask is – where’s the neighbors? 😦

  23. i have a problem doing that.. thinking of nothing. when i try to do that (especially in adoration chapels), in a minute, other thoughts would rush in my mind. or if not, i’ll fall asleep. hehehe. but i would really want to do that. even just once ;p

  24. Actually the shouts for some people are really annoying hehe naanad sa singgitanay nga puwede lang man hinay nga tawag…eskandalosa pa kis-a…but yeah. I mean I grew up in that neighborhood so most of them saw me grow up so that have that kind of protectiveness and sweetness everytime I go home πŸ™‚

    Yeah..even here in Manila. I mean we normally don’t mingle with neighbors kahit isang compound lang kayo….:(

  25. Tin – you can’t concentrate kasi ang dami mong iniisip eh πŸ™‚ Maybe I should teach you how .. he he. Ok lang yan as long as ang iniisip mo happy and exciting things at hindi problema πŸ™‚

  26. Verns – that’s the nice thing about the province because almost everyone in town knows you ! YOu feel a definite sense of belonging ika nga πŸ™‚

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