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Unplugged and Unburdened: Hitting the Reset Button

Everyone should have one week per year where they are virtually unreachable; a week where they’re able to completely unplug and hit the reset button. It’s no secret that I’ve been absent from The Scheffette over the past few months – at first it was out of my control and then it started to become by choice. This past fall was absolutely awful dealing with my migraines as well as my car accident, but I finally had a small symptom reprieve in January and the beginning of February. That should have allowed me to get back to my regular posting schedule, but by that point I was having writers’ block and having a hard time finding the necessary spark and excitement to write.

The symptom relief from the migraines became short-lived, because while I wasn’t having migraines, I was having what I now know were horrible side-effects from my prophylactic migraine medication. At the peak of the side-effects it got to the point where I would have preferred dealing with my migraines than the side-effects; so March brought tapering off that particular prophylactic and trying a new one. This was a blessing and a curse because while it brought side-effect relief from the first prophylactic immediately, within 3 weeks of tapering it brought back my migraines and gave me a lovely week-long status migraine just as I was getting ready to go on vacation. Unsurprisingly, I experienced relief while on vacation, and they’ve now returned since I’ve been home.

Suffice to say, I was in desperate need of a vacation and a reset. Not only that, but as I’d mentioned above, I’d been having writers’ block, but I was also having a bit of a broader life block. One of those ones that felt a little existential in nature. The last time I’d had one was after I’d graduated law school when I’d left the safety of the predictable schooling routine, and started articling – which brought entering the workforce and the new routine of “is this every day of the rest of my life?”

Now that I’d been working for 5 years doing all the learning, growing, and exciting things I could handle; I was taking a moment to breathe. During this moment, I was trying to do what I always did – find a new goal, a new direction, a new something to work toward and failing because I couldn’t figure out what that was – which had never happened to me before. I’d always had a very clear direction. A very clear set of steps and I’d never really had competing directions or possibilities before.

As part of working through my anxiety over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to live in the moment and enjoy what’s happening around me in order to avoid loosing sight of today because I was too busy trying to plan tomorrow. However, I’ve come to realize there will always be a part of me that needs to have a loose idea of what tomorrow I am striving toward. At times this part of me can make life rather difficult because it can create this sense of unrest and sense that I need to be doing more, achieving more, and being more.

I didn’t have intentions of this vacation being one where I was going to solve this existential block; however, Mark and I always have the best talks on vacation and somehow seem to feel like we solve the worlds problems, so I felt like there was a chance something might shake loose.

The first full day at our resort was thankfully the last day of a 7-day migraine and the beginning of an incredibly fulfilling week away with Mark. This fall we will be celebrating our 15th anniversary (we’ve been married for 7 of those years) and as such, this trip was serving a few purposes. We visited an adults’ only resort, Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique Hotel, which is close to Playa del Carmen. The resort staff were excellent, and we were pleasantly surprised to receive a free upgrade to our room, which provided us with a larger room and the most stunning view of a lagoon. It was the perfect place to relax. The resort itself was about half-capacity for the week and the general vibe of the guests matched our energy, which allowed for a nice, quiet week to read, relax, and enjoy each others’ company.

What allowed me to truly unplug and reset was the ability to be unplugged in the first place. I am immensely grateful for my colleagues at DW without whom I wouldn’t be able to be unplugged. Being unplugged takes prior preparation and an acknowledgment that each person, workplace, and time you go on vacation will be different (as it relates to what types of files you have and what else is going on in your life and practice); however, I do everything in my power before I go away for a holiday to ensure that my legal practice can be managed by others while I am away. This often makes for a very busy, very full week prior to vacation; and a very busy, very full week or two after vacation, but I can’t emphasize enough how incredible it is to truly hit the “off button” on my brain and not focus on anything besides which book I’m going to read that day and where I’m going to be reading it.

As expected, the time away allowed me to relax and reset; and while I don’t think I solved my existential block in its entirety, I feel like it gave me time to breathe, consider, relish, and reflect on where I’ve been, where I am, and where I want to go, personally and professionally.

As it relates to the future of The Scheffette, I don’t know what it holds. For now, I am going to continue to write when and as I’m able whether that’s as I’m physically able or as I have the mental capacity. I feel as though I’ve placed pressure on myself to stick to an arbitrary schedule that I created and when I stopped being able to live up to that expectation The Scheffette became a chore. When I started The Scheffette I was over-the-moon about the possibility, the vulnerability, and the opportunity to share in all of that with you. It was something I loved and it filled my cup. Somewhere along the way, I lost that, and I need to find that again if I am going to be able to continue with The Scheffette.

In order to do that, I need to take the pressure off myself. I’ve deeply appreciated every single person that has taken the time to tell me how much they enjoy reading The Scheffette when they see me out in the Lethbridge community or in the virtual community – it brings me more joy than you know.  While this may sound like a “good-bye”, it’s more of a “I look forward to seeing you when I see you”.

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