Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unplugged from work - Day Five - I did it!

I did manage to stay unplugged from work for five days. Part of my success was luck and part of it was timing. Nothing urgent happened…well, at least nothing that anyone has admitted to… And although it didn’t used to be, the span of time during the academic year was a relatively quiet time to be gone. Rescheduling what had been on my calendar was fairly easy, and all of this had weighed in to my decision to take the step back in the first place.

The hardest days were Sunday (remember, I work EVERY day) and Monday. It was as if I was playing an Olympic volleyball game in my head against myself. One part of me would power serve a thought about work across the net of my consciousness. Another part of me would lunge to hit it out of play. During those first couple of days, the serves were relentless, and I often found myself working harder at trying NOT to think about work than I would if I was actually working.

On day two and three, the intensity of the game eased a bit. By the end of the week, my power server had about as much oomph as an aging relative playing a game of sand lot volleyball at the annual family reunion. At that point, it wasn’t hard to claim victory.

The whole point of my week-long mental jousting was to force myself to face a loss. Or more specifically, yet another loss. In a relatively short period of time, I have lost my mother, a close friend who I considered a family member, and a beloved furry companion.

For the first two, I never missed a beat at the office. Who has time to mourn? Besides, it’s so much easier to just slip back into the whirlwind. Finally, the cumulative effect required an acknowledgement.

In the Jewish faith, there is the tradition of “sitting Shiva” after the death of a family member. Shiva literally means seven and during this week, the mourner is not supposed to do any work while family and friends gather for support, remember the deceased, and allow for grieving and healing. I’m not a Jew, but I could see the wisdom in this forced stepping back.

So I did.

I’m not going to wait 11 years to do it again.

Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.


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