So I took a trip back to my home state of Idaho. I brought my computer with me and I was determined that I would finally get to code on my projects without interruptions during my time, since I knew I would have a few days without anything planned.
Well I got there and my days of being alone to code, came. I didn't code. I didn't want to code. So strange. In the last 10 year (probably longer), I don't think I've gone more than 3 days without coding, and that is not an exaggeration.
The first day I got there, it was late so we caught up, these people who I consider family. My friends I've known my whole life, but hadn't seen in over 12 years. It was like I'd never left and it'd only been a few weeks since we last hung out.
The next day we went snowmobiling. I quickly realized how out of shape I had become. It was an insane workout just riding on the machine. But so much fun! Not to mention the reconnection with nature and the real world. I had forgotten how gorgeous the real world was!
My buddy had to work a few days while I was there, and I had plenty of downtime. I used the time to sleep and relax. I had a whole furnished basement to myself. Everything but a kitchen. I didn't turn on the big tv. I didn't work on my laptop. They didn't even have INTERNET!!😲🤯😳
I drank coffee ☕️, ate some donuts 🍩, and sat quietly. It was so peaceful. I used the other time to talk to my friends. Catch up with their real world lives that I only had a glance at via facebook.
It was so strange that I had missed their whole lives, because I only kept in touch via social platforms. I had lost years of them, due to a disconnect in distance and physical interaction.
There is something special about talking to a person face to face. To spend time with them, not via the internet but in person. To hear them speak and laugh and interact with them in real time. We've lost a huge part of this important interaction due to the luxury of the web.
I heard somewhere the other day that it's now considered a luxury to disconnect from the tech world, where as the poor can only interact with nature digitally.
Doing a quick google search I found a article on it, not that it's the same one I heard from but mentions the idea. https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-news/who-gets-to-unplug.
How crazy is that, that before it was a luxury to connect on the net, where now it's a luxury to disconnect!
But after my vacation, I totally get it. It took me a while to save for it, but I got to completely disconnect and it wasn't even intentional but the benefits will affect the rest of my life.
I came home truly rested for the first time since I can remember. I felt no urge to get back to work, even as a self proclaimed work-a-holic. I felt no urge to work on my own laptop and the idea alone sounded dreadful.
I only wanted to go camping, hiking or anything to get outside. I hung my hammock in the drive way and spent hours in it just laying.
Breathing the fresh air. Reading a book. Not even a tech book! But a fictional book! I walked on the rocks barefoot.
I spent time with my daughter outside. Quickly realizing that she is a 1 year old dare devil.
It's now been 27 days and other than work, I've not coded outside of that.
I feel more relaxed. I am less serious at work, as I've realized that it's a means to make money to support my family, but not what is truly important in life. My family is much more important. I still work hard but at the end of the day, I'm off and that is it.
I have found I'm less grouchy. I am more patient with my family and those I interact with... outside of work that is ha ha.
I feel more alive. I crave nature and the outside more and more each day.
A huge benefit is that I've started to get things done! I always was angry at myself about setting goals and then never getting them done in the past, but now I've complete more projects now than I have in a long time.
It's like the episode from Malcolm in the middle, when his parents go without having sex and have so much time on their hands, that they actually get things done! You see their trashed house go from a mess to being clean and neat. lol.
I have so much more time now that I can do the task in which need to be done!
I fixed our door. I fixed, sanded and painted a set of corn-holes. I cleaned out the drive way and storage unit. I went through my whole closet and got rid of unneeded outfits, which led me to realizing some of the shirts I didn't where anymore because I thought I was too fat... actually fit. 😂 I started to carve wood again. I made some paracord bracelets and practiced some camping skills. and on and on!
I'm alive! I feel healthier and I'm happier! The best part of all of this is my wife and I are communicating better than we ever have. Maybe it's timing but it's hard to believe that my changes haven't helped.
Being in the moment with your family makes it easier to understand them and show them you care. Even if you think you're doing a great job at it, you can always do better at it when you're not stuck in a laptop, or stressed out about getting work done.
Life is good and it's because I'm actually living it for real. I'm breathing fresh air and interacting with people on a human level.
I don't plan on calling off code, that isn't what this is about. But I now know how important it is to take breaks, and not just a few hours away but real breaks that may span a few days or weeks. And part of that is getting away from your norm.
So with that I challenge you to take a break. Call your friends and go and meet up. Go on a hiking/camping trip. Go on that vacation you've been "to busy" for.
Even if you can't do that stuff, just stand up and go for a walk. Say hi to someone you may have not talked to in the past and see if you can strike up a conversation.
Live a real life, not just behind the computer.