Take a break? Perish the thought!
The Constant Type A Drive
I don’t read a lot, as I prefer all things digital, and ultimately, it’s far too many consonants and vowels for me, so I get tired.
I do however read scripts in exchange for money, and occasionally I will crack open a nice pop-up book with font 83 bold.
In any event, I don’t remember ever reading The Burly Man’s Burly Guide to Being Burly. Someone somewhere should write that, because a lot of us Y-chromosomers feel downright awkward about taking a load off and enjoying a well-earned break. It falls under the category of Forbidden. Like, the moment we do so, a giant flannel-sporting axe-wielding beer-guzzling Paul Bunyan-esque figure will loom large over us and hurl accusations of slothful behavior and slovenly living.
No. We must constantly be swinging axes and chewing tobacco and spitting and sweating and working under oily cars and constructing skyscrapers and sticking our burly chests out in a burly fashion while being burly. Otherwise something must be wrong with us.
I know J. Michael Collins never sleeps. My hat is off to him, indeed. I, however, require sleep to survive, or come 11:30pm I will quickly devolve from disheveled teddy bear, to Nazgul, to Satan incarnate. Ask my wife. You can find her out in the shed; she hides out there in terror until my kids give her the all-clear in the morning. This ogre needs his beauty sleep.
Why do I say all this as a lead-in?
- Because it’s hard to actually intentionally take a break!
- Because it’s hard to set everything aside, untether, and recharge, when all you want to do is accomplish.
- And because it’s my blog and not yours.
As for me, I’m a go-getter. I see it, I go get it. For whatever reason, it’s deep in my programming, and in the programming of so many of my colleagues. It’s inescapable, like haircuts or Shark Week. It’s as predictable as death and taxes. Me trying to take a break is as difficult as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.
But I must do it, or this flame will flame out, like an overtaxed dead shark who was overdue for a haircut and had only one leg.
Pass me the recliner, will you?
It was an ugly thing. Or so she said. My cousin’s wife Sarah hated that recliner that her mother-in-law had brought into their house when she moved in to help take care of Sarah’s newborn. It didn’t go with anything, it wasn’t exactly comfortable, and it made her itch. The chair. Not her mother-in-law.
To me, it’s perfection. (The chair. Not her mother-in-law.) One man’s trash is truly another man’s treasure. One person’s chucking-out is another person’s cherishing-of. One somebody’s garbage is another somebody's gratitude. One individual’s – OK I think you get it now.
I love that thing. It’s got the plush seat! It’s got the flip out leg rest! It reclines! (Because it’s a recliner; was that not clear?) It’s amazingly comfortable, and because it comes in a shade of sand, it goes with our other furniture which are also shades of sand. What Sarah didn’t want, I snatched up with great relish. I remember stuffing it into the back of my SUV and couldn’t wait to bring it home and put it in our living room. I knew just where it would go, which is two feet in front of the TV, blocking out the light, and allowing those radio waves and invisible patterns of electricity and magnetism to be absorbed into my soul just like Mike Teavee.
I. Love. That. Chair. It has provided great guilt-free rest! If there’s one thing I am willing to tear myself away from my work for, it’s that chair. Or Bottle Caps candy. Or Bottle Caps candy IN that chair.
OR A RECLINER MADE OF BOTTLE CAPS!!
If there was a point to be found in all of this, it’s that rest…good, healthy, restorative rest…is so important in entrepreneurship, and it’s important to break away to get it, even if Paul Bunyan has carved out plans to chop me.
So that’s just what we did.
LTE – 3G – E – ANXIETY!
This past Saturday through Sunday, I dared to go camping where there was no signal at all. Not even smoke signals live there. Only bears and cougars and the Blair Witch. If you go there, you must prepare to be completely without signal of any kind, to look at your phone desperately as if to say “do something, damn you,” and with a full willingness to be axe-murdered in the woods. Please note that through all of this, all your phone will do is show a clock that counts up to the time that you will be attacked by bears and cougars and the Blair Witch. Anything less than this, and you’re just not rugged enough, and must be axe-murdered.
I remember driving down the dirt road and watching my precious five bars dwindle to a greyed-out underscore. My phone literally made a dying, gurgling gasp to underscore the gravity of the transition. For some reason I remember wondering if my will was in order. It’s a truly unnerving thing, as I mentioned in the previous blog: having no signal. But with internet out at home, at least we can run to the neighbors for help when chainsaw-wielding hockey-mask wearing hooligans show up. Camping offers little similar luxuries, save peeing in the woods.
Be that as it may, we took a break, and a much-needed one. We went with our church life group, and it was really, really nice. I’ll admit it’s challenging to take a preschooler and a toddler camping. The sheer amount of crap required to accommodate their every need weighs about the same as a grand piano holding a lead weight holding a small moon holding God. But! It turns out we had 0% signal, and yet we had 100% fun. I barely thought about checking my phone for email after the first hour, and instead prepared the roasting sticks for smores.
When we drove out the next day, we were rested and content. Yes, I did what we all did the moment my zero bars shot up to five and all those 3,491 notifications came rolling in: squeal with glee, plow into the car in front of me and send our luggage flying all the way to I-5. But after we had regathered it and toweled up all the spilled coffee, it got me thinking.
What would I have done had I been home instead? Probably make several trips to the studio to fulfill waiting auditions. Or marketing. Or networking somehow, constantly harkening to the siren call of the app badges on my iPhone. But to be Facebook-less, Twitter-less, Instagram-less, email-less, text-less and signal-less was actually…less stressful than I thought, and more rewarding.
Perhaps most importantly, I found that I could actually break away without experiencing a synapse misfire or a complete psychotic break.
Not that I’d do it again anytime soon. Are you kidding? There are bears and cougars and the Blair Witch out there. You’ll find me right here in my sand-colored chair, tweeting on LTE, at least until 11:30pm which is when the screams begin.
NOTE: This blog is purely for commentary / educational purposes. I make no money from these blogs; though I do not refuse large cash gifts if it means I can pretend I'm a church.
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