We all know what happens when we disconnect a signal line; the signal stops flowing. Unplug a mic and it doesn’t work anymore. Unplug a speaker and it doesn’t make sound. Unplug power from a board, and it just sits there. I don’t think is coincidence that often the fix for a computer is to shut it down, or unplug and power it back up. Sometimes, you just have to shut it all down, clear our the registers and start fresh.
I think we all need a reboot once in a while, too. A few weeks ago, I had the chance to do just that.
Running Hard and Fast
As TDs I think most of us are pretty driven people. We like to work hard, and enjoy the challenges we are faced with. But sometimes, it can get to be too much and we need some down time. Down time can be a challenge, too, because we really don’t know what to do with ourselves. My current job has me running pretty hard. I have installs and proposals stacked up like flights coming into LAX. It’s exhilarating and exhausting at the same time.
When I was a TD, life was similar but different. The weekly pressure of weekend services, special events and maintaining all the equipment and systems could be exhausting. And when the big weekends rolled around, it was crazy time.
While I can take weekends off now, I still find myself working on something. It’s easy with all the connectivity we possess. I have two laptops and a Mac Mini, an iPad and iPhone. Broadband and VPM access lets me work from home as efficiently as at the office. As a result, I rarely unplug and reboot.
Off the Grid
But a few weeks back, I actually did. About fifteen years ago, my Dad, brother and I started rebuilding an old fishing camp on a tributary to Upper Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Park in New York. After a few summers of hard work, we had a great camp to enjoy. I haven’t been there since I moved to Minnesota in 2007, and I was missing it dearly. Thankfully, we have a great client in New York, not far from White Plains. As it turns out White Plains is only about 4.5 hours from our camp. So I did what anyone who travels a lot would do. I extended my return flight and planned on driving up to camp after the install was done.
It was actually fantastic to drive up into the mountains. There was almost no traffic and the trees were just starting to turn. Once I arrived at camp, I had no cell signal, no wi-fi and no real way to connect with the outside world. It was just my brother and me, sitting by the lake.
As my brother lives in NY and I in CA, we don’t see each other much. Through Facebook, we keep up with what we’re doing, but our schedules don’t give us much time to talk. But up in the woods, with nothing around to distract us, we could just sit in the great room, and talk. Face to face. I think this is becoming a lost art in today’s hyper-connected world. We can reach out to all 500 of our “friends” at a moments notice, but we have a hard time sitting and talking for a few hours without checking in on our network.
I found this weekend to be incredibly refreshing. Between the interaction with my brother and the downtime in the car (almost 10 hours in total), it was a great way to recharge. I’ve talked about the needy to get away and get refreshed before, but it’s become ever more apparent that when we get away, we really need to go off grid.
My friend Stephen told me he was going to go off grid for a week just to recharge. The thought is probably terrifying to some of you, but I know he’ll come back more refreshed, more creative and more ready to do what God has called him to do. This is something we all need. We can only run so hard for so long before we need to reboot. If you’re feeling foggy and like you need a restart, plan the time away and do it. But don’t cheat; leave the phone off, the laptop at home and disconnect. You’ll be the better for it.