Downtime

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The days crash into each other like wayward bumper cars, speeding by in a mish-mash of early mornings, desk-top lunches, office politics, homework battles, and after-school activities. Sometimes, we eat dinner in a speedy 2 minutes, 30 seconds, all while I yell lovingly through a bullhorn, “HURRY UP, WE’RE GONNA BE LATE!”

I am perpetual motion, zig-zagging around doing all the unnoticed, but necessary, things that moms (and dads) do: sweeping up the crumbs, wiping the toilets, getting book-bags and lunches ready, and scraping mysterious substances off the couch.

There are so few quiet moments, so few moments of just…sitting…still. Once I do sit down, I realize how exhausted I truly am, the weight of my fatigue like a twenty-ton elephant.

I am a person who needs some regularly-scheduled downtime. Don’t we all? I need some time to pitter around the house and talk to the plants. I need to stare out the window and watch the wind in the trees. I need to stop and collect my swirling thoughts.

When I forget to make time for downtime, I literally start to come unhinged. Patience flies out the window, and smoke dribbles out of my ears. I feel tattered and dull.

We need to remember that we are more than just crumb-sweeping, toilet-cleaning, behind-the-scenes machines. We are actual real live humans, and we need some self-care, me-time downtime. At least once a week, and maybe even (gasp) daily.

Downtime is defined as a “time during which production is stopped” or “periods when a system is unavailable.” In a culture obsessed with productivity, and when there’s always something that needs to get done, it seems counter-intuitive to make time for doing nothing.

However, let me expound on the bounty and beauty of downtime. Think of all the information that is constantly bombarding us: social media, news, e-mails, and daily happenings and interactions with friends, family, and co-workers. If we are perpetual motion, we don’t have time to process all of this information.

Slowing down can give us a minute to make sense of all of this information, to sift through it and put the pieces together. We can step out of the race for a moment and see our lives as a whole. After a little downtime, we can happily rejoin the real world, refreshed and ready for perpetual motion once more.

More importantly, inspiration and creativity can’t strike if you’re zig-zagging around like a supersonic Roadrunner. You’re simply moving too fast for your next big idea to land. (I firmly believe that ideas tend to glide and are not prone to crash landings).

Personally, I am at my heel-tapping happiest when I’m feeling rested, inspired, and creative. I know I need to put down the bullhorn, ignore the chores, and watch the wind in the trees sometimes. I need to sit on the couch, wiggle my toes, and listen to the blissful sound of…nothing. Nothing is music to my ears.

 

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