The Richmond Register

December 22, 2012

Make room for quiet time

By Marie Mitchell
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — Shhhh. This is my Quiet Time. You know, Quiet Time. The thing you convinced the kids they needed when they outgrew naps. It’s a rare and beautiful thing — even for adults.

A few weeks surrounding Christmas I faithfully etch out some Quiet Time. To Focus. Assess. Prioritize. Relax. Without any distractions. It works wonders.

It’s not easy to find time to dedicate to this. But it’s well worth the effort. I clear away the mental clutter that’s accumulated during the year. Hit the delete button. Make it disappear. At least temporarily.

Then I invite QT in. Welcome it like a long lost friend. Whose company I crave. Whose visits are too infrequent.

I give QT space to work its magic. To reflect. Rethink. Reinvent. Regroup. It’s so refreshing.

Our lives are too much of a blur sometimes. Coming. Going. Doing. Seeing. Pushing forward at incredible speeds. Faster than a bullet train. Not able to enjoy the view as it passes rapidly by.

During QT, I slow things down. Abandon the calendar. Refuse to live by a schedule. Don’t let a list dictate my movements. I try to stay in the moment. Enjoy what’s happening now. Not worry about later.

I place a moratorium on multi-tasking. Juggling. Connecting with anyone who is not physically present in my QT circle.

I vow not to utter these words to my kids: “Wait a minute.” “Hold on.” “I’ve got to finish this first.” “Let me do one more thing, then I’ll help you with that.” To give them my full, undivided attention. Which they might consider a blessing. Or a curse.

I revise my vocabulary to include: “Sure.” “Why not?” “Of course we can.” “Let’s do it.”

QT means staying in jammies all day if we want to. Eating when we feel like it. Cleaning up whenever it’s convenient.

We’re not rushing to or from anything. Just going at our own pace. Appreciating things we were too busy to notice before.

Quiet Time lets me get reacquainted with my own family. Catch up with the kids beyond the logistics of where they have to be, when, and how much money it’s going to cost me.

It’s guilt-free permission to enjoy a movie marathon cocooned on the couch. Or embark on an open-ended Stratego or Monopoly session for longer than it takes to set up the game. Or laugh at goofy YouTube videos of grumpy looking cats or vengeful cows.

Quiet Time is the perfect gift I give myself. It helps me remember the reason for the season. And reminds me of the little things that matter most in life. It’s the respite I so desperately need before we gear up for a rousing 2013.