With two deadlines met within the past two days and two more articles due within the next 24 hours, I shut off my computer, turned off my office light and wandered into the living room. It was 8:30 on Thursday night. My husband was out with the guys. Our foreign exchange student was holed up in his room, exerting creative power over his music. And I, well … I was exhausted. I’d been juggling interviews and research and emails and appointments all week, and I just needed a moment of rest.
I turned on a single light. I dropped a Pure Moods CD into my ancient CD player and scooped up our oldest, smallest dog, sinking into the couch with her in an attempt to lull her into a lazy state of mind before tucking her in to her kennel for the night. Our oldest cat began the laborious bathing process on my left. Our slinky black cat tucked into a loaf and closed her eyes on my right.
For a brief moment, I thought about getting up and grabbing my phone from the counter, where it was plugged in to charge. If I was just sitting on the couch, I might as well catch up on my Twitter feed or my Facebook updates or my Words with Friends game or …
But wait. I was exhausted. My body felt like a melting lump of lead, heavy and overburdened. My eyes just wanted to close. My thoughts wanted to tip toe in their own directions.
For more than an hour, I sat on the couch, dog in arms, cats by my sides, music in the background, phone far across the room. It was peaceful. Quiet. Uninhibited. Necessary.
I don’t know what I thought about for that hour. I’m not sure it matters. But giving myself that time to just sit, relax, feel our dog’s breathing on my shoulder, listen to my cat’s snoring on my side … it was needed.
I read something the other day about a challenge for friends who go to dinner together. Everyone is supposed to pile their smartphones in the middle of the table, and the first person to pick theirs up has to pick up the tab too. It is shocking to me how pervasive technology is and why we feel like we need to be doing something all the time.
An hour after I’d settled into the couch, our foreign exchange student emerged from his room and got a bowl of cereal. He settled into the chair across from me, and we spent the next 30 minutes or so just chatting. The music still played in the background, but there were no phones, no video games, no movies or television. Just us, our conversation, the sleepy animals and a moment of peace and quiet.
Taking down time is somehow considered unproductive or lazy, but it’s time that I need and savor. I think it’s time that we all need. It may be one hour of quiet, but it’s also a heavy weight off my shoulders, a necessary rest for my body, a time to bond with my family and a moment that can’t last long enough.