Plugged-in and Unstressed

This week I disengage—I trade-in my laptop, desktop and cell phone for books, bike, beach chairs, coolers, magazines, Frisbees and Guinness. Sea Isle City, New Jersey; eleven of us—kids, grandkids, wives, significant others and whoever else drops by. Relax, no serious reading, writing or blogging; just beach, cycling, games, golf, running, rides, dominos, bocce and a lot of partying.

The family decided to celebrate my birthday at the shore because it was impossible to get everyone together weeks earlier with all the different schedules—work, T-ball games, weddings and other conflicts. I get an iPhone as a present and have a flashback—a flashback from my past life when, as a manager, I was expected to be plugged in seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The day I got my Blackberry, was the day I could no longer disengage.

Life as a Defense Department manager in the post 9/11 era was complete and utter madness. One Saturday morning in October 2001, I went for a run and left my work cell phone in my Jeep. It was the first time I’d been without my phone since the attacks–for two, maybe two and one-half hours. When I returned, I had thirteen messages; from Boston, Washington, DC, California, Iowa. That morning I began to plan my escape from the insanity of a life that was no longer my own.

Today I returned from a long run on the beach and my kids threw sand balls at me, told me my hair looked like Bozo the clown’s, and then handed me a Guinness. I sat under the cabana and played with my iPhone. I am no longer unplugged. I’m blogging on vacation, Guinness in my hand, kids laughing, grandkids playing and I have a smile on my face.

I suppose it is possible to be plugged-in without being stressed. Like everything in life, it is a matter of perspective.


About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
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2 Responses to Plugged-in and Unstressed

  1. Jim, Sounds awesome! Not everyone recognizes that their life has taken a turn in the wrong direction, fewer do anything about it. Sounds like you are living life purposefully. Fantastic!
    I’m sitting in an office building in Cambridge, MA right now. Summer vacation is behind me. ;(.Have a Guinness for me! Cheers!


    • Jim Brennan says:

      I’m fortunate for sure, and count my blessings every day. We can’t always avoid the stress of day-to-day business, but believe me, running was the one consistent thread that helped get through all the madness. It is the best natural stress reliever available, simply strap the rubber to the bottom of your feet and hit the trail. Oh, and the Guinness is a given.


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