It shouldn’t have felt so difficult. It was only one week. One week with no cell phone, text, e-mail, social media, Netflix, podcasts and other digital distractions. My Kindle book reader was the one exception I allowed myself.
As someone who is building a business “on the cloud” I’m super grateful for modern technology. It allows me to live in a rural mountain town but not be dependent on its fledgling economy.
But I also get really worn down by the constant digital barrage. And, to be frank, also slightly addicted to it.
“How many people liked my latest Facebook post?”
“I should text that person right now while I’m thinking about it.”
“I can’t wait to get my daughter to bed so I can watch another episode of Parks and Rec on Netflix.”
I knew I needed a total, complete, 100% break from it all. I needed to just sit with my own thoughts, enjoy the company of those physically around me, and slow down enough to notice life’s details.
But carving out this time was no small task. I had to plan it four months in advance and get a cavalry of people on board.
Task 1: find an affordable vaca destination that both my husband and I could get excited about. Answer: mountain biking and camping in Fruita, Colorado.
Task 2: find someone to care for our daughter. My parents jumped at the chance.
Task 3: line up care for our two big boisterous dogs. We ended up piecing it together by enlisting three different individuals for help.
Task 4: ensure that my two businesses would continue seamlessly in my absence. I let people know weeks in advance that I’d be offline and delegated tasks big and small to my capable team.
I also created an “only if you really need to” way to reach me. My husband agreed to leave his cell phone on in case of an emergency with our daughter, our dogs or the businesses.
After a terribly stressful week of packing, working, cleaning the house and tying up loose ends, we hit the road.
It felt so satisfying to switch my phone into airplane mode. A weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that nobody expected me to respond to anything. I felt so present in life.
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday swept by in a blissful tick tock between mountain biking and sitting in the hammock, or trail running and then sitting by the fire. Stress drained. My spirit renewed.
But on Wednesday this all got interrupted.
I had applied to present Garage Grown Gear at a local pitch day. I was under the impression that we’d be giving our presentation to the selection committee sometime mid or late June. But that was not so. A text message to my husband’s cell informed me I’d need to do it within the next 48 hours.
I arranged to do it over the phone, but refused to switch on my computer to spend time prepping for it beforehand. I had an initial presentation put together and while it was rough, it would have to do.
The night before the presentation I barely slept. I wasn’t yet ready to reengage with the world out there. I spent some time meditating to get myself into the right frame of mind, but it didn’t really work. My lack of enthusiasm showed.
One of the pieces of feedback I got was that I was monotone and didn’t show any passion. This was particularly hard criticism to take because I’m usually a pretty decent public speaker and out of everything that people have questioned about Garage Grown Gear, it’s never before been my passion for it.
As soon as the call was done, I burst into tears. I felt like I couldn’t win.
True enough that it was my choice to do the presentation. I could have said no and turned my cell phone right back into airplane mode. And, for most anything else, I probably would have.
But getting into this pitch day is something I’ve had my sights set on for two years. I didn’t want to blow it simply because it was my week to check out.
Even with the benefit of hindsight I’m not sure what I should have done? Say no to giving the presentation? Suck it up and spend more time preparing beforehand? Let it play out just as it did ... not a truly terrible performance, but far from a standout one as well?
And true confessions, once I gave in to the fact that I needed to turn my phone on to coordinate the presentation, I also gave in to posting a few photos of mountain biking in Fruita on Facebook and Instagram.