To a child, one of the most dreaded punishments is the inevitable “time out.” For any active kid, to be told to sit quiet in one corner and think about what you did is a terrible thing. In first grade, I remember being told that I talked too much. When the report cards came in, the grades for all subjects were exemplary, but my behavior was always just merely satisfactory with a little extra comment in the corner that I talked too much. As the year continued, anytime my talking became too much for the teacher, it was to the time out corner I went. It was an awful time. Why should I have this quiet time when there was always so much to do, so much to explore? I do not miss the feelings of being punished, but as I have gotten older, I have realized that I miss those quiet moments. Today, I believe that once in awhile I need a timeout.
For the past few years I have kept myself busy so that I had no need to think about anything. I would schedule myself within an inch of my life so that I was so focused on what needed to be done, that I forgot about anything or anyone else. Life became nothing more that ‘a quick succession of busy nothings.’ Anaesthetized by my labors, I forgot about myself.
I was the typical Type-A student that worked hard and was so set on following a strict timeline to get to a goal that I never figured out if that goal was something that I really wanted. I never found the time to linger on internal exploration, or at least I never wanted to take a breather. And so life continued in this exhausting pattern, until one day last year when I stumbled and fell.
One of my classes assigned a reading that for the first time really made me stop and think. It forced me to question who I was and if I what I was doing was something that I wanted to do. It time I realized that I became mechanical. I was all drive with no passion.
So I decided to take time off. Instead of living across the country, I came back to live at home. For the past few months I gave myself timeouts. I gave myself time for the reflection that my life so desperately needed.
I still have many questions. I am still trying to decide what I want. But at least, I have now given myself time to explore, something that I believe my younger self would have approved of, even if it means taking a time out.