Unplug and recharge. It’s a novel concept, right? I mean, we have all heard of it. Ah, the imagery that our minds conjure up when we hear those terms are the recharging and unplugging of that little piece of glass and steel life’s blood affectionately known as our smart phones. They are smart, we can do pretty much anything with them, from email contacts from around the globe, to becoming amateur-professional photographers; hell, even, surf the internet, book a hotel, buy a plane ticket, and plan an endearing itinerary to some tropical island. And, let’s not forget social media. Ah, social media. That wondrous machine that consumes huge chunks of our day, and makes us feel, somehow, validated or violated. People nowadays spend enormous amounts of their life on social media, yet, lack necessary social skills to get through a dinner party without having anxiety attacks.
Life gets crazy, chaotic, if you will. We all have so many things going on all around us at any given time on any given day. Jobs, school, homes, and family, we all have at least one of these things that keep us set on strenuous deadlines. Juggling more than a few of these can be slightly more than mind boggling. The important thing that we only need to remember, is that we have to take a time out every once in a while, for ourselves. I mean, after all, we are no good to our families, our jobs or coworkers, or anything we attempt when we are run down and ineffective. Many people refrain from putting themselves in a much needed and well-deserved time out because they feel guilty. Maybe taking a nice long soaking bath is inconvenient because the children need to be bathed first. Maybe a nice drive just listening to music does not seem like a good idea because there is a report paper due in two days. However, there must be a balance somewhere.
I was recently reminded of that myself. My daughter came to visit for a week. She had moved to Minnesota from Georgia at the beginning of the year. So, I had not seen her in a few months, and did not know how long it would be until I would have the opportunity to see her again. I had taken some time off work so that I could spend the time with her. Now, normally when I have time off work, I break up the day into chunks of time that I spend working on my homework for school and house chores. She wanted to go for a walk around my neighborhood. I agreed to tag along with her, reminding her that I had homework to work on when we returned to the house. While on the walk, she mentioned that she wanted to also drive to downtown and walk around some of the little shops and boutiques. I agreed to go, with another reminder of having homework to complete. While we were on our walk, we had a great conversation and reflected on how different life had become for each of us. And, it dawned on me. The homework was not due for several days, and she was only here for a few days. I had missed her incredibly since she left a few months earlier, and I really wanted to just focus on spending quality time with her. So, I stopped thinking about having any homework to worry over, and I just walked with my daughter. We enjoyed a nice walk around the neighborhood, and down to the lake and back. During our conversations, we laughed, and we got serious. Then we drove to town and walked around sight seeing among the quaint little boutiques. We stopped for lunch before returning home. When we got back to the house, I checked my Fitbit and noticed that I had gotten in over 10,000 steps that day. It was, ironically, the first time in weeks, that I had even gotten to 10,000 steps. Between working at a desk job, and doing school work, I rarely get to move much at all during most days. But I let everything else go that day, and I just spent the day with my daughter, my best friend. And it was worth everything. She will be leaving tomorrow to go back to Minnesota, and it will be a while before I get the chance to do that again. We must do those things, kids and grandkids grow, and they grow fast, so if you do not allow yourself the chance to just stop and take in the moments with them, the moment will be gone, and you can never get it back.
In addition to enjoying a beautiful day with my daughter, I realized, I unplugged myself from my normal routine of “have to hurries” and was able to recharge my own batteries. And, that was amazingly beautiful. I let myself off the hook, so to speak, from school or house task commitments, and just enjoyed the simplicity of a walk. The ability to have great conversation with one of the most important persons in my life, was certainly a bonus. But, leaving my phone at home, also recharging, allowed me to reflect on the simple treasures of life that I had not taken notice of in some time, such as the warmth of the sun, the cool breeze, and we talked about how green everything is. Spring has just sprung this week, and I realized, during the walk that I had not even taken notice to how everything has already come to life. The experience was soul nourishing. During the weekend while she was down, we experienced multiple obstacles that cold have stolen the joy from her visit, yet through it all, while there was an err of natural frustration and concern, ultimately, there was a calmness that engulfed us. Perhaps the time we spent on our walk, reflecting on life and the world before the events unfolded, gained us an advantage on handling the stress? Taking these moments for a timeout of our routine is something that we all need to be mindful of doing from time to time. My daughter leaves in a few hours to go back to Minnesota, and I am not sure when I will get to see her again. But, I am grateful for the few hours that we took out of everything to enjoy our 10,000 steps and focus on each other and what is most important.