The audacity; last week I disappeared into the Vermont woods for a couple of days off the grid. I did the unthinkable: I put an OOO and turned off my phone. I went riding, hiking, swimming, caught up on reading and let the silence from a tech free vacation reset me. After a very busy summer of work, I could feel my patience slipping away as my life felt like it had just become a series of attempts to tackle each day.
The tail was most certainly wagging the dog.
Fortunately, I’ve become a pro at these off the grid check outs, but that wasn’t always the case. The first time I decided I needed to do this was the summer of 2019. I often reflect back on this time because it really taught me so much and continues to be a lesson I keep having to re-learn, which is why I was motivated to share. Back in August of 2019, I was desperate for any kind of respite after having been dealt blow after blow as an entrepreneur for 18 months. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster that I could never get off. And so, I booked an AirBnB deep in the woods of Quebec where even if I wanted any kind of service, there was none to be found.
To say I was anxious would be an understatement. As the dates approached, the idea of being completely unreachable for three days terrified me; what if a client needed me? What if something went wrong? What if someone died? All of the ‘what ifs’ flooded me for days. The audacity of thinking that I could put an OOO as a solo entrepreneur and not be available 24/7 for my clients or anyone else that needed me.
The first 24 hours were the hardest. I almost connected to the wifi too many times to count. I was so anxious; I couldn’t get out of my head. Thinking. Worrying. What iffing. I barely slept the first night, but then woke up feeling much calmer. A quick walk through the woods started to reset me, a paddle out on the lake centered me, and by the afternoon I had a clarity and focus I hadn’t had in two years. I couldn’t believe it; 24 hours of disconnecting had me feeling like a completely new person. I sat down to write and couldn’t stop. The feelings and ideas and inspiration were flooding me at a rate I couldn’t keep up with. I sat there and realized how important boundaries and making time for myself was. I promised myself that I needed to do this at least every August, that it was imperative to my well-being.
Before turning my phone back on, I sat with myself for a moment thinking that whatever may have transpired while I was off the grid, it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t handle because this reset had been so important. All of the emails, all of the problems were worth it.
I turned my phone on and my worst nightmare had happened; my dear friend Kelly Nobes had died. I was inconsolable. Pure devastation. But at one point I stopped and smiled thinking that even in his unexpected death, Coach Nobes had given me one of the best lessons in life: that the thing I was the most afraid of happening, happened…and there was absolutely nothing I could have done. And, I got through it.
Now, I reflect on this lesson every August when I book my off the grid time and go into it with such ease.