Unplug and Recharge
By Jeremy Anderson
As High Holidays ended and we celebrated the joy of Sukkot as a team, I was grateful to take a couple of weeks in early October to rest and recharge. My husband Tom and I flew to the east coast for 6 days in New York City and 7 days admiring the fall colors across the northeast. Wicked, Chicago, Hadestown – we did our part to help Broadway reopen. A few fancy dinners and a few more slices of pizza and street-cart hot dogs. We felt busy in the hustle and bustle that still permeates the city.
But then we rented a car and set out on what would be 1,750 miles in 7 days – driving from New Jersey to upstate New York, into Vermont across New Hampshire to Maine, down through Massachusetts to Rhode Island and over into Connecticut. We stayed at cute Bed & Breakfasts and an enchanting seaside Inn. We visited some of the most beautiful and charming towns I’ve seen. Leaves were ablaze in splashes of yellow, orange and red.
I turned my notifications off and put my camera down.
I ate seafood every single day and relished some fast food on the go.
I talked to strangers without constantly thinking about what I would say next or what else I had to do. I just listened. Responded. Listened. Soaked it in.
I stopped checking Facebook and didn’t look at emails.
I walked through woods of maple and along rocky beaches. Listened to good music and drank great wine.
I did everything possible to quiet the noise – both inside and outside.
It was hard to do. Especially after 18 months of pandemic living – when our homes have become our offices, our families our coworkers, our friends so far away, our news always on, our hearts on our sleeves.
But I did it. I unplugged. That’s such a counterintuitive phrase really. If you leave your phone “unplugged” it will lose its energy. But unplug as a human and, I promise, you will definitely recharge.
As we are surrounded by the beauty of fall and make our way into one of my favorite times of the year – a month of gratitude and connection with others – I wonder if there is anything you can unplug from your life? I had to escape to the other side of the country and wait days before my brain would quiet down.
But I wonder what we could do today, in our homes and workplaces and schools and lives, to unplug from the turmoil and the noise, the constant chaos and catastrophe and demands of life. Even if for 5 minutes while lighting the Shabbat candles, or for 20 minutes to walk around the park without a phone in hand, or for 2 hours to have lunch face to face (or mask to mask or screen to screen) with an old friend, or for an afternoon to pause send/receive on our inboxes, or for one day to hike in the foothills, or… Well, you get the point.
Executive Director, Judaism Your Way