Pulling the Plug?

I have been fortunate this past week. Despite my choice of a fast-paced and hurtling-down-the-highway topic, I’ve managed to stay put at home, working away and with little time frittered away in traffic jams and meetings.

But it isn’t always like that, and I know for many of you clocking in at Corporate America, it’s rarely like that. Typically, it’s downright crazy.

This week, I posed the question:

If you could slow down the pace of your life or remove certain pressures that have been added to it over time, would you do it? And if so, how would you alter your life and what would you do with the free time and opportunity it presented?

It’s such a tempting fantasy, isn’t it? Simplifying our life. We read these stories about individuals or couples who have chosen to downsize so much that they are practically living in a colonial cabin in the woods with few belongings, barely running electricity and water (maybe) and absolutely no interest in being connected to the world (vis a vis Internet, phone, TV, etc.)

But in my world, there’s desiring a simpler life and then there’s Unabomber Living for Dummies. I have no interest in the latter.


I shudder at the thought.

I don’t disagree that telecommuting has its advantages and I in no way am striving to return to my old schedule of hitting the road 45 minutes to an hour before starting, experiencing the joys of my car in idle or feeling the need to mask my sing-out-loud bravado to the blaring Bad Company CD just because one of many fellow beep-beeps lining the road is staring at me.

No, I don’t miss that at all. And, just so you know, I frequently burst into song a la Blaine – Warbler style – whenever I feel the urge come along during my workday. No one’s here staring at me either. Well, the dog will sometimes pick up his head from the floor and gaze confusedly at me but then he sets it down again and resumes what he does best: a stretched-out, lounging version of the “running man” as he sleeps.

Would I want to completely simplify life though…steal away somewhere, far from the maddening crowds, the rush of people, the commotion and communication of competing technology? Eh. Probably not. Don’t get me wrong: the idea of living in a big house in the country (and by country, I mean , 20-30 miles away from any city hub but still within cell tower range and Verizon FIOS accessibility) would be a joy. And though I have some of that (the distance and access, just not the big house in the country), I do like being able to immerse myself in culture, crowds and the pulse of a city whenever the mood strikes. I couldn’t shut out that aspect of my personality completely.

I am truly a suburbanite at heart. That’s who wakes up every morning and goes to sleep every evening with her little glass of wine and book, stretched out over the pillow. But for me, I also thrive on the energy that comes with social media, that gotta-know-right-now fever that infected so many of us many years ago as our lives began to be taken over by the Internet, and I don’t know that I want the antidote.

So tell you what: I like the idea of saving miles on my old Toyota, gas dollars and time wasted smelling fumes on the way in and out of work, but I don’t want to shut out the rest of the commotion I’ve grown accustomed to in life. The constant buzzing of text message alerts, the inherent need to Tweet when a thought or question stirs the need and my voracious appetite for cable television that doesn’t involve “the Situation” or any Kardashian members.  Like catching up on the latest drama on HOMELAND or DEXTER, having a good cry during my weekly GREY’S ANATOMY therapy session, laughing until my side hurts with NEW GIRL and THE DAILY SHOW, getting lost in the fascinating worlds of GRIMM and ONCE UPON A TIME or being swept away in the hunger and intensity of HELL ON WHEELS and WALKING DEAD.

No, how could this entertainment junkie ever “simplify” life so much that she’d live in such a quiet, uneventful and maddeningly boring world?

I’m fine with the noise. Bring it on. And when I need a reprieve, I’ll take a weekend off to silence my mind and resume on Monday.

You can keep the road warriors and bumper-to-bumper though. I’ve got unabashed singing to “The Best of Crowded House” on this morning’s marquee. Private concert in my home office at 10 a.m.

Share your own thoughts on the prospect of leading a simpler, quieter life. And as always, thanks for reading!

Cheers to finding that daily spark in your life!

~ Chris

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