Feature Article, Off Topic

Sit there and turn off all sound. Right now. Okay, so maybe you’re at the office; how about whenever you get home? First thing, sit down, turn off all electronic devices and sit in silence for about ten minutes. Doesn’t that sound fun?

To me, it does. I have noticed over the past few years that many of the people I see in my life are constantly doing…SOMETHING. And I’m not talking about “something” as in achievements or progression, I’m referring to the purely physical act of doing, of occupying oneself. This is interesting to me because I have noticed less and less people having pure idle time for their own selves, ranging from the time spent at home to the time spent waiting in line for a sandwich at Jersey Mike’s. So where am I going with all this? Allow me to elaborate on the former and then we can discuss the latter.

One Thing After Another

When people get home, often times it is a crazy non-stop slew of one thing after another. Again, I am not referring to BIG things, just anything, whether it be playing a game, watching movies, talking on the phone, etc. By being constantly bombarded with stimulation, it is hard to contemplate said stimulation and truly think about what it means or how it makes you feel. More importantly, you may not be giving yourself time to simply wander in your mind, let your thoughts roam and travel, think and rethink without any boundaries. When you take in a piece of art, such as a film, it is hard to get the most out of it if you start playing video games right after watching it, skipping the deliberation process where you draw connections and truly think about what it says to you and what it means.

We could even relate this to driving in a car; must it always be necessary to blast music or talk on the phone while driving? Perhaps simply rolling down the windows and cruising could be even more pleasurable when you have time just for yourself. There are times when I purposefully leave my stereo faceplate at home so that I can just drive and be alone with only my thoughts. But why is this even important? Why am I mentioning all of this?

Let It All Out

It is healthy, not only for your body but for your mind and your soul. It allows you to decompress, to let loose from many of the aggravations you face during the day. When you come home from work and are constantly doing something, that negative energy may not be released, which means you will perhaps carry it over into the next day. In a way, our minds and bodies are similar to batteries in that they need to relax and recharge. Life shouldn’t feel like a treadmill, a never ending sprint towards an invisible finish line.

You have always heard that hindsight is 20/20, right? This is a bit of the same in the sense that it allows you to put a different perspective on what is happening in your life. When things are quiet, you can think about the things you have been procrastinating on. And on top of that, studies have shown that when you relax the brain and come back to something, you have less of a chance of experiencing burnout.

In public though, I have noticed a trend of people whipping out their cell phones as soon as they are not needed. Lunch lines, movie theaters, you name it. I even had an experience where I was having an active conversation with someone, where every time I talked, they would look down at their phones, only looking up when it was their turn to speak. But is this necessary? Do we have to whip out our phones every single time we have to wait a few seconds for something? Can we not stomach waiting 5 minutes for the movie to start in a theater or the 30 seconds you have to stand before the employee asks what kind of sandwich you would like? “Oh God, I’m alone with myself, WHAT WILL I DO?!”

A Little Time For Yourself

As with everything in life, it is a balance. Yes, I get it, smart phones are cool and I have one myself. It’s a constant stream of news and games, I understand the appeal. All I am asking is to give yourself a little more love, to spend a little time here and there getting more familiar with the coolest person on earth, YOU! You don’t have to spend every minute of the day doing nothing but 10 minutes will not hurt at all and will provide some nice slice of time to unwind. All in all, you may find yourself to be happier and life a little less stressful. Take time to contemplate the myriad aspect of life for there is an abundance of things happening all around us and many big questions to ponder. And if you are thinking “But Ryan, what am I supposed to think about? What big questions in life are you referring to?” Well, I am glad you asked! If you have never thought about these questions, feel free to take 10 minutes a day to see where you stand:

  • Do we exist before we are physically born?
  • Where does love come from? And what is it exactly?
  • What is our purpose for being?
  • Do we really ever die?
  • What came before the big bang? Who created God?
  • How can we achieve everlasting peace?
  • What is reality?
  • Where does thought come from?

Try it out! The next time you are waiting in line, smile and just ponder life in all its glory.


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