That’s me 10 years ago on my 30th birthday. Sunburnt. Pudgy. Elsewhere in thought.
I don’t mean to overstate my “condition,” but if you look at photos of me from 2003–2009—the workaholic, internet-addict years—you will see that my eyes rarely, if ever, smiled. I wasn’t depressed or miserable, per se, but I was in a perpetual funk. Wheels spinning without much forward movement. A prolonged period of FOMO which prevented me from thriving in the present with the three, happy cuties you see pictured beside me.
Back then, I neglected my family, my health, my spirituality, my social life, and my hobbies. Ironically, my self-absorption also hindered my work, because my efforts were so short-sighted. Hard working, yes, but with less purpose, focus, and fulfillment than I’ve experienced in the years since.
“We didn’t do as many fun things as a family and you rarely initiated anything,” my wife told me today. “You were always working nights, fixated on your phone, and brought your laptop to bed with you.”
Gross! A couple weeks after that photo, however, I would abandon that stagnant period of my life though a life-changing “Montana Moment,” which I wrote about in my book, Log Off: How to Stay Connected after Disconnecting. I’m so grateful for that experience and the decade that followed.
Obviously, we each learn different things at different times. But if my story can help anyone else in even the smallest of ways, we all win. Offline really is better. Fall down seven times, get up eight.