“The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” – Vince Lombardi
Unplugged - according to the dictionary, it is when a band unplugs from the electric and performs unplugged. Today, most of us, think of it as a time to turn off the phone, computer, iPad, and any other technology we can. I am looking forward to doing just that later this week for a undisclosed amount of time. Fortunately, I have much to be grateful for. It is time to reflect, and develop a renewed outlook on this "blink" of a time called life.
Twenty-four hours of work left in my final week of work at a place I have called home for the past forty years. Mechanicsburg Area School District. A proud alumni, and soon to be retired employee. I know many of you reading this are thinking, what can I take from this blog right now? Unplugged? Retirement? Time away from work? Well, depending on what your story holds right now, I assure you, even if you can unplug for even a few hours, it will renew your inner spirit, assist not only in your own mental health, but a new sense of belonging, and direction in your life. Trust me, it has taken me YEARS to figure this out, and I am still working at it!
As I drove from James Madison University today, my mind was thinking about this blog. I had four female basketball players singing most of the way home, Bridget off key, but as loud as anyone in the car. She was responsible for picking all the music, from John Denver to Taylor Swift, the car was full of singing, laughter, reminiscing about the past, and thinking of the next season and the fun summer time in front of these young high school girls. Maycee, Sheree and Sarah joined Bridget in the 2 hour plus car ride, as we drove along the gorgeous Shenandoah National Park with the blue skies, and mountains just begging me to turn off and start the unplug process today! I thought of many work, personal, and professional stories as I listened to these young student athletes. Their whole life in front of them, living in the moment of summer fun, playing their hearts out for their team. How quickly this time has flown for the older coach just taking in all they had to offer. I started to think, not a bad way to start the next chapter, taking in some of the living in the moments that will be offered over the next few summer weeks. Unplug. Live in the moment. Hide the watch. Enjoy some time away from the everyday "work" life. I started to get excited, but as I sit here only a few hours later, I am back into that Sunday mindset.....what is the weather to be like this week? What programs need moved? Am I prepared for my responsibilities? Wait - I need to live like those teenagers, and enjoy the day in front of me! So, I am going to do just that, the sun is shining, I hear the mowers outside. I will take the time to get outside and enjoy a few moments in the yard, before doing chores to get ready for next week. Sounds all too familiar? I encourage you to take a few hours out of your busy lives, and find the time to unplug.
Three Essential Take Aways from Unplugging:
You deserve time for you. Make the time to read, play a game, take a walk, or for me, it is coach, swim, and ski. Not only will you have a new sense of self-worth, you will be more productive in your work.
Time away and unplugged recharges your mindset. Taking time out of your work routine enables you to regain brain power.
Refocus. Unplugged time will assist you in reflections of the past, refocusing on the future, and developing the priorities. Your perspective might just change.
As I write my final blog, I would like to thank all the work and personal friends that have allowed me to be part of their stories. From all the girls I have coached, and those that gave me insight for today's blog, to the retirees that have gone before me, I am forever grateful. I can't begin to start to name names or I would need pages, upon pages of those that have affected my professional, coaching and personal life over the past 40 years. We have shared many stories, strategies, programs, special events, short cuts, assistance, but most of all, knowledge and wisdom to assist in making our communities better for those that live in it. I thank you all for your time we have shared and the relationships we have built, as nothing is more important to me than those friendships we have built along this "blink" of an eye thing called life. My prayer is that we meet along this path again, very soon, as I am only retiring from my current employer, not my recreational passion or my new path of life. I am hopeful our paths cross sooner than later.