I owe something to everybody.

I mean it. Inboxes are overflowing. To-do lists are bursting with fruit flavor. I’ve overpromised and yet, at the same time, almost totally unplugged.

While it doesn’t do much to assuage the chronic guilt, I’m kind of more OK than I have been in a while.

I think something let go in my head last week when I heard someone at work is going on vacation. And it’s like the seventh vacation since I started there 2.5 years ago.

Seven … to my one.

And this person unplugs too. The office doesn’t stop running. In fact, I wouldn’t have even noticed had I not received the “Hey, don’t look for me for the next week” e-mail.

Of course, in this day and age, if a company can live without you for a day or a week, they generally figure they can live without you forever. If someone else “can” do your job, at many companies you can generally expect that they will absorb your functions and free up that salary money.

I often dream of taking off without looking back, enjoying my time with someone special and metaphorically throwing the phone into the ocean. A friend mentioned to me that the whole idea of the two-week vacation was to let someone go recharge while everyone else audited their projects to see what was going well and where they could use some more help and training.

Amazing, how times have changed so much.

I think my fear — other than apocalypse and doom — of walking away from my inbox for more than an overnight is that I wouldn’t want to go back. Like, I would enjoy relaxation too much. I wouldn’t be able to come back from it. I’d want to party till the money ran out (and boy am I frugal and could make it last!) and then I’d have been gone so long, no one would want me back.

I had to come to terms with a new reality when I was out of the workforce for 11 months. IT WENT ON WITHOUT ME. “Kids” were promoted over me. It was like dropping off the planet for a year and then trying to re-integrate. The world didn’t spin off its axis, but it certainly had tilted in a way I hadn’t expected.

And while a week isn’t a year, still. Even when I get the chance to fully unplug, in this day and age where everything changes so fast, will it be just like losing a whole year all over again?

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