Quieting the Noise and Spilling the Brain

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Saturday afternoon, I sat on a bench in Millennium Park in Chicago, people watching and taking photographs and just enjoying the slow pace of a spring afternoon. While I sat on that park bench, I realized that it was the first time in longer than I can recall in which I had no where to go, no where to be, nothing that needed to be done, no one needing anything from me in the immediate future. It was a strange – but somewhat freeing – feeling.

I have a tendency to fill my days; boredom terrifies me and I am not sure I would remember what it feels like to be bored – it’s been so long. If there’s nothing to do, I fill the time with something. Frankly, arbitrarily filling time is not something I have to do much of these days. The time, it fills itself. Having a less flexible schedule these days translates into a little bit of juggling to make things fit into the day somehow.

I once saw Denzel Washington on Oprah (shut up), and he said at the time that the motto in his family is “You have to do the things you have to do so you can do the things you want to do.”

There’s a lot of “have to do’s” these days.

That’s okay, it’s part of being all grown up.

FYI, being a grown up is stupid.

But, I need to make more time for the things I want to do because I hadn’t realized it until I had a few unclaimed hours just how much I missed being aimless with my camera.

I haven’t really written in I don’t know how long. I think y’all can tell from the puny numbers on the right there, how few blog posts I’m actually writing these days. I’m not even doing much writing that I’m not posting. When I write, it’s work writing and not writing for joy. I used to write for joy. I used to write because the words would bubble up under the surface until I unleashed them, through my finger tips, the keyboard, onto my screen one character at a time. I used to think I would write a book someday – these days, I’m lucky if I can remember to add “vanilla extract” to a grocery list.

My guitar case sits propped against the wall, getting covered by a layer of dust that I should find time to clear off. My fingertips, which had been getting nicely callused from playing are nearly soft again, and I wonder if I can even remember how to form chords anymore.

I still find time for my camera. I still find time for pictures. And it saves me sometimes because it’s a reminder that I’m not losing my perspective, my eye. It reminds me that I can still see and that I’m still absorbing and that at some point, I’ll find my groove and make all of these things fit back into my day again somehow.

But Saturday I stopped.

I breathed in. I watched the world around me. I moved as quickly and as slowly as I wanted. I took all the time and none of the time. I wondered about people and places and things. I felt rain drops on my face and I saw my reflection as I slowly walked past store windows, a face that was nearly at peace from the unrushed pace of a day.


About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. That sounds like a perfect kind of day to me.

    Glad you had a relaxing day. 🙂

    Random thought: I wonder how many times a day they shine The Bean.

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