Nearly everyone, I think, knows this quote, as it’s particularly applicable to our always-on, always-plugged-in culture. I’ve seen it multiple times, of course, and each time, I kind of laugh to myself and think, well, I unplug periodically! I’m good!
Yeah. Apparently not.
I hit a wall yesterday. I had no energy. I could not muster the oomph to get out of bed and head to the gym at my usual ungodly hour (fewer people = lower risk). I went back to bed for an hour (granted, I did not really sleep, but that’s kind of beside the point…). I got up, went for a run outside (it was beautiful), did my usual Sunday morning cleaning (kitchen, floors, dusting) and then thought about my day. I’d planned to go to a state park (fee free weekend!) for a quick visit, then hit the coop for a few things, and otherwise work all day.
This has been my pattern for the last… um… well, let’s just say that working all weekend is more the norm than the exception.
Things started out exactly how I thought they would. I checked email, read the paper online (Washington Post, my favorite for years now), then headed to the park and truly enjoyed the sound of the waves lapping on the shore of the lake. I left when the sun started to get stronger and the families showed up, headed to the coop (where I completely struck out) and then came home to get to work.
Except I couldn’t.
It was like my brain just… froze. I could barely put two sentences together, let alone anything coherent for a manuscript (my current primary focus; there are a lot in the pipeline). I finalized comments on a student’s comps (the final written ‘exam’ before they move to dissertation status). I made sure my comments were mostly constructive (sometimes it’s just… impossible…), and on the right form. Then I tried to clean out my overflowing downloads folder.
I couldn’t even figure out if I wanted to keep some things or not. I couldn’t make any decisions. I just stared at the screen.
After about 20 minutes of this, I just…. gave up. Sent a few emails, closed the computer, went on a walk. Came home, and… sat outside… and read. Just, read. For an hour. Had lunch, then sat (inside this time, the sun was getting stronger on my ‘balcony’), and… read more.
I finally (FINALLY) finished Becoming. It was the perfect book to finish – the perfect words to read – given everything that is going on.
It was just what I needed to read at this moment in time. And I realized that yesterday was really the culmination, at least for me, of the past months’ strain and stress and difficulties. The pandemic. Racial injustice. Protests. Massive overreach and unbelievable actions by our ‘president’.
It’s been a long, long spring, as we all know. And it came crashing down on me yesterday.
I went to bed last night, slept like the dead, and woke up feeling so much more like myself.
I guess more than a few minutes of unplugging is sometimes needed. And for someone like me, it requires basically a bucket of water in the face. A wall right in front of me. Whatever metaphor you want to use to imply a sudden shock to the system.
I clearly needed it, and I know I should try to avoid having it hit like this in the future. I’m sure I’ll try to remember this, and I already know that I’ll fail spectacularly. Fortunately, the Universe has a way of jumping in front of idiots like me, who refuse to acknowledge that they, too, are human, and making us stop.