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 🙂 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.
“Most 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. “What 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 🙂 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 ?
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