As a novice runner, I use a handy-dandy app on my iPod to tell me when to switch from running to walking. So far, I’ve worked my way up to nine minutes of running and two minutes of walking, repeated four times (for a total of 44 minutes).

Each interval is marked by a chime that rises above the sound of my music. I’ve switched most of the chimes to pleasant sounds, like a Tibetan singing bowl, for example – sounds that sooth me as I run.

The only sound I haven’t changed from the default is the one that sounds at the very end, after all of the reps are completed and I’m home or close to it. It’s a buzzer that sounds exactly like a school buzzer reverberating its way down locker-lined hallways.

It’s a rather jarring sound, and when I first heard it, I was determined to change it. But I didn’t get around to it right away, and by the second time I heard it, I realized that I’d grown to like it. Like Pavlov’s dog, the moment I heard the buzzer, I was filled with childlike glee. It’s the recess buzzer! It’s the sound that tells you it’s time to put away your work, grab your jacket, and run outside with your friends for fifteen minutes of unadulterated fun.

When I get to my front steps, exhausted and sweaty from a hard run, the buzzer sounds and I know that it’s recess time. Time to relax. Time for a hearty breakfast, a soak in the tub or a refreshing shower, a tall glass of water, and then maybe a cup of tea. I’ve worked hard and I’ve earned this recess time.

This past month has been an extended time of recess for me. When I quit my job (and the contract I thought I’d be starting with fell through), I was determined to take some time to refresh myself before jumping into new work. I’ve worked full time for all of my adult life (with the exception of maternity leaves and university), and I knew I needed a rest more than I needed to work at that point.

You know what? It was truly, truly wonderful. I have emerged feeling refreshed and excited about what this new business venture will look like. Now that it’s November, I’ve started some contract work, I start teaching this week, and I’m having lots of exciting conversations with people about interesting work on the horizon. Plus I’m getting ready to birth Sophia Leadership in a week or so. It’s all good and exciting stuff that I feel ready for since I took a break first.

Maybe you need to sound a buzzer now and then to remind you it’s recess time too? You know what they say… all work and no play, makes Jill a dull girl!

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