Idle time.

Idle time is a funny thing.

The bright side of idle time is time when you may intentionally be doing nothing except unwinding, recharging, sitting, thinking, wondering, listening or just generally being.

It’s time when your only company may be a cup of tea, a warm mug of freshly brewed coffee, a glass of wine, a fire in the fireplace, the crashing waves on an empty beach or a sunrise. Better yet, a sunset.

It’s time when you might choose to read a book — or not. It’s time when you might want to make a list of things you want to do, or places you want to travel — or maybe you’ll just mentally file them away for later resurrection.

It can be renewing, centering, calming time. This is the idle time that I love.

The bad side of idle time — the dark side, if you will — is when there are things to get gone, but you just can’t seem to get it out of neutral.

You sit there, pressing on the gas a bit, hoping to gain a bit of traction and feel some movement in a forward direction. Even just a little would be reassuring.

Instead, feelings similar to those you may have while actually sitting still in a car — trying to go somewhere — also come up.

Frustration. Confusion. Irritation. Maybe shame.

Why can’t it go? Why won’t it go? What did I do to cause this? What more can I do to try to fix this? Who’s looking at me right now? Who’s judging?

This side of idle time is the one that gets under our skin and makes us vow to be better the next day. After all, if there wasn’t something we desperately wanted to get done, this face of idle time would never show itself.

And having it show itself could be the very catalyst to help spur us to action.

Here’s to hoping the dark side of idle time is used to our benefit, to help us be better, to help us be even more centered and grounded than we were during the bright side of idle time.

Tonight I am thankful for the tiny catalysts which, at first, are often unseen. I’m thankful for their annoying, “Are we there yet?” quality that makes me want to take every step towards flooring it, just so that I can turn around in time and say, “Yes, we are — in fact — here. Mission accomplished.”

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