Tuesday morning I set out for Tazewell, TN for a day of client meetings (I moonlight as an employment consultant for adults with disabilities). I met with five clients by 3:00 and helped one apply to seven jobs. In terms of productivity, I was on fire.
I had already planned to stay at my dad’s Tuesday night since he lives nearby. I knew I could get in a visit and then have Wednesday and Thursday to get back to work.
I’ve forgotten a few things since childhood: how much I love Icees, that heights aren’t scary, and that my dad lives in a higher elevation. When it snows 2″ in Knoxville, there will be 6″ at his house. Living in the mountains also guarantees something else: horrible cell phone reception. I found one spot in my room, near the window, where I had 3G connection and could barely text my manfriend to let him know I wasn’t stuck in a tundra somewhere. No Facebook, Instagram, email, website, nothing. I had no choice but to put down my phone and disconnect for two days.
I’m a doer. I create plans, write action steps and then execute. Even when I’m home at night, trying to get ready for bed, I’m constantly thinking or scheming or planning or analyzing. I have to remind myself to eat lunch without working simultaneously. If I’m not careful, I’ll work constantly, especially now that I’m self-employed.
What I’m learning this month, though, is that while this incessant “going” is certainly working for me and helping me pay the bills, sometimes it’s perfectly okay and healthy to stop. It’s okay to unplug from social media. It’s okay to let emails sit. It’s okay to simply enjoy the unexpected time you are gifted with the ones you love.
When I was younger my dad’s house was my retreat center. I would plan extended visits when I needed a break from college, work, life – whenever I needed to recharge. I didn’t plan this retreat, but I think it was a blessing in disguise. My parents and I talked, sang, ate meals together, shoveled snow and laughed. All three of us agreed it was a “meant to be” event.
I’m grateful for my ambition, my drive and my ability to make things happen. But I’m even more grateful that I’m able to appreciate moments of time that are unexpected, and anything but traditionally productive. Maybe there’s as much magic in the not-doing as there is in the doing. Maybe we need both to keep us balanced and healthy.
Now that I’m back home, I feel re-energized and recharged, and a bit nostalgic. There will be other times for spontaneous respite. For now, I’m beyond grateful that this one presented itself and I’m hopeful that I can continue to enjoy them when they unexpectedly arise.