Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Wisdom Wednesday: Disconnecting
Last week my wife took me to Cartagena to celebrate my 65th birthday. It was my first visit to South America and hopefully not my last. We rented a large house in the old city with three other couples. The house was magnificent – fully staffed, 5 bedrooms, 6 baths and 3 pools. It overlooked the bastille wall and ocean.
We did typical tourist things – toured the city, went scuba diving and charted a boat for a day to visit a private club on a nearby island. A couple of days were reserved for just hanging around the house to unwind. Each evening we all met on the roof to watch the sunset over the ocean.
It was, to date, my best vacation and certainly my best birthday.
My gauge was my ability to disconnect from the pressures of everyday life. A good friend of mine, who works harder than anyone I know, has started taking off a month each summer. He claims it takes him about ten days to really disconnect.
I’ve never taken off more than a week, so I have no real frame of reference for his claim. However, this vacation I seemed to disconnect immediately. Maybe it was the exotic nature of the vacation or being in a Spanish speaking country where English is rarely spoken. I’ve never studied Spanish but I really tried to use the language to communicate as much as possible.
Although several televisions were available, I never turned one on. In fact, the thought never occurred to me. For a whole week, I was unaware of the latest world events. I only knew about the mud slides in Columbia (they were 300 miles away) when friends from the U.S. called with concern.
However, the biggest indicator is my practice. Like many occupations, you don’t really turn it off each night when you lock the front door. I research for my blog, respond to e-mails, review lab work, medications, and herbal therapy daily. I often mull over a particularly difficult case outside office hours.
The first time I thought about my practice was Friday morning, the day prior to our return. I realized that for the first time in over 40 years I truly disconnected for six days, both emotionally and mentally, not just physically.
As you might imagine, I have returned with renewed energy toward daily life. I also have vowed not to engage in the political circus on the news every day. I will remain aware and informed, just not so invested.
The Bottom Line:
We all need to find ways to disconnect from our daily lives on occasion. Playing tennis give me a little reprieve on a weekly basis but that is not enough. Please take the time to really disconnect and allow your mind and spirit to renew.
Key Words – vacation, Cartagena