I learned about a new community this weekend, Nashville, Indiana. I’m again reminded there are countless fascinating places in the United States I don’t even know exist. I spent the late afternoon yesterday wandering the streets and alleys of the artist colony in the heart of Brown County. Galleries presenting local artists’ works are sprinkled among the shops and local eateries. It has the feel of the way things probably should be.

The area reminds me of one of my favorite places, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, maybe with a few less hippies. It seemed all the artistic, hippie type people migrated to Eureka Springs when I was in college. I visited there a couple of years ago and recognized some of the shop owners. They look the same, just older. Maybe it was my imagination, but some still had the faint smell of incense and marijuana.

I got a latte and a snicker doodle cookie and sat down on a bench across the street from an old white church to people watch. There were preteens wanting to be teens and teenagers wanting to be adults and old couples wishing they were young again. A dad with his young son and daughter sat on a bench just across from me. The little girl, about 5 years old, had a head full of blonde corkscrew curls that looked like they had just come off of hot rollers. She was curious and fascinated with sticks and seeds and sat down on the ground to dissect a cigarette butt. Life is so interesting at five.

I’d just finished speaking, so to sit, decompress, and mentally coast for a while was the best thing I could do. A woman at the conference shared with me about her intense need to take breaks. “I will go nonstop from sunup until I drop into bed if I don’t plan a time-out for myself. I literally set a timer and make myself stop, step away from the world and rest and regroup,” she explained.

“So you set a timer and put yourself in a time-out. What a brilliant idea! Do you determine time like you do for kids, one minute for every year of age? That would be awesome,” I said trying to figure out when I could start with self imposed time-outs too.

“I do,” she said. “At first it made me real nervous and just like for a kid, the time crawled. Now, I look forward to a time-out.”

I suppose yesterday afternoon was a time-out. I just didn’t set a timer. It gave me time to reflect and watch a community I didn’t know, until a few days ago, was even on the planet. I think it would be good for all of us to go to time-out and to take more naps.

Thanks, Brown County, for teaching me some valuable life lessons: Put yourself in time-out, browse art galleries, and eat at a non-chain restaurant whenever you can.

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