“I’m going to take fifteen minutes for peace.”
That’s what she said as she stopped pacing back and forth in the living room. She was having a stressful day, the kind that most freelancers both long for and dread: multiple client meetings, collaborative projects that were being juggled, and all the freedom of an open schedule to manage it all. I make my own hours, I can work any 23 a day I like is usually the way it works, and I believe she was, at that point, at about 22.5-hour workdays.
Then she stopped pacing, suddenly, and plopped down on the couch next to me. “I think I need to take fifteen minutes,” she said. “Fifteen minutes for peace. Will you hold me?”
This may seem like a strange thing to say to someone you’re not romantically or familially involved with, but remember I live only slightly north of Portlandia, and so hugs and snuggles and cuddles are a bit more common than in other areas of the world.
Yes, this may have something to do with why I moved out here.
I digress. I held out my arms, and she snuggled up to my chest for fifteen minutes. No more, no less. Then she got up, flashed her bright, energetic smile, far more centered and far more powerful than the scattered energy of a quarter hour before.
Fifteen Minutes for Peace
As a former single parent – well, actually, I’m still single, and still a parent, but you know what I mean – I know what some of you are saying. “Fifteen uninterrupted minutes?” The maniacal laughter when often times the demands of kids/pets/iPhones won’t let you so much as use the bathroom as actually take fifteen minutes and do…what?
What could you do with fifteen minutes of peace? Let’s pretend, just for a moment, that you can actually find, somewhere between making the lunches and doing the laundry and ignoring the catbox, fifteen minutes to stop.
To give yourself a breath.
To let yourself not rush for a moment.
To let that amazing strength and power that goes into trying to keep up with your own aspirations collect, gather, pool inside of that quarter-hour until you are ready to burst, so eager to get back into the fray.
If it makes you feel better, turn it into a task. 8:15 to 8:30: stop. Set the timer on your phone (we’ve all got them). Make yourself comfortable, and see if you can just enjoy that respite from the day, whether it’s snuggled with welcome arms or a happy cat or a slobbering dog or just your favorite blanket.
What do you think would happen?
How will you know, until you try?