When The Pawn Calls Checkmate
I often feel that is how my life is. If you're not familiar with this notation, it is a chess move indicating that the pawn in front of the white king has been moved two spaces forward. It is a somewhat popular move to begin the game. It's all well and good if you are the chess master, but the outcome may be less than optimal for the pawn.
And I'm afraid most of the time, there are those who seek to be the chess masters of our lives who are constantly calling out e4. “We need this report by COB today!” e4. “You need to get out and vote and vote this way!” e4. “You need to get a CAT scan!” e4. “You've got to see this movie!” e4. “I can't believe you like that restaurant!” e4. “We need you to talk in church this weekend!” e4. You get the idea.
It's seems like there is a constant barrage of media, influencers, marketers, social media pundits, professionals, associates, family members and more all demanding our time and efforts, and happily providing suggestions on what those efforts should be.
And yes, there are obligations we do have in life. Reports have to be completed. If your doctor suggests a CAT scan, you should probably get it. And I do maintain the participating in the election process is a privilege, and to me, an obligation we should take with the highest sense of responsibility (but still it must be kept in its proper place).
To make things worse, we carry around devices that give our chess masters continuous access to us anywhere, anytime and anyplace. And we help them by being in a near panic mode if we are not able to access social media, the “news”, the stock market a text or other nattering voices that demand our attention.
But, is this constant bombardment of “be here, do that, buy this, go there, vote this way” healthy for us? My answer is no. And I'm not alone. In the article 5 Ways To Unplug and Find Peace For Yourself, Andrea Araya writes,
...studies show that rest and being unplugged is crucial to your health. Doing nothing isn’t always a bad thing. Rest is not only vital to your physical and mental health, it can also boost your productivity when you return to work.
The article has some great tips and is worth the read. It primarily deals with unplugging from the digital aspects of our lives, which, of course, is becoming more and more time consuming. But I suggest there are other, and in fact maybe every aspect of our lives that would benefit from an occasional disconnect. To my mind, if you're on vacation but constantly checking in with and doing work for your employment, you're doing it wrong. I'm sure you could add more examples.
The other day my wife and I had an opportunity to attend a play at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. It was fun, a great diversion and when they reminded us to silence our devices I took it one step further. I turned mine off! I can hear the gasping right now. What if your work needed to get a hold of you? What if you miss a text? What if you miss a news story? My response? What if? I'll be back in a couple of hours, it's fine. For these 2 hours I am unplugged.