Notes From Time Off

From "The Now V17.1"

My top priority is to be able to sleep well at night. (This is one of a million ways to phrase Lightward’s overriding priority of health.) Because I’ve been good at that, I don’t have to use vacations to get a sense of balance. Because of that, I don’t take vacations very often.

Last month, Abe and I took two solid weeks off. Remarkable! And it was easy. Someone asked me afterward if it was hard to transition into it (stepping away from work), or hard to transition out of it (stepping back into work). It wasn’t. At all. I shut off Slack, closed my terminals and my tabs, and I was out for two straight weeks. No whiplash on either end, which I chalk up to the fact that what I do with Lightward just feels like another one of my relationships. Sometimes I go without talking to a pal for two weeks, and it’s fine, and then we pick back up afterwards where we left off. Lightward feels basically like that, to me.

I’ll rattle off a couple top notes in a second, but first: this being the first time ever that I’d left work for that long, I sent the following questions round to the whole crew:

  • How often/much/whatever did you register that I was actually gone?

  • Did it seem like a long time?

  • What did you find useful/helpful about me being gone?

  • What did you find troublesome about me being gone?

  • Did me being gone matter differently in week two than in week one? Or, to put it another way, was there any change/evolution in the way my absence did or didn't matter, over the two week period?

  • Anything else you want me to know?

Not that I was worried, but the responses were a relief. People noticed that I was gone, a bit; it didn’t seem like very long at all; me being gone meant that folks stretched a bit more into areas they wouldn’t have otherwise, which was empowering; it wasn’t really a problem, and I should know that I should head out whenever I want. :D It feels good to be in an arrangement where the crew is enthusiastically supportive when I pop out, and that when I return I find things better than I left them.

I’m grateful to now be in a spot where I can leave for this long. The team composition is now at a point where some things may get paused if I leave, but nothing hurts. Huge. Huge, huge, huge. And, taking a vacation felt more like fasting from Lightward, not detoxifying.

I had the best time with Abe. :) The best, best, best time. I’m grateful, and happy.

A couple highlights:

  • Wine country! We spent a couple days up in Napa, staying at Bardessono. The landscape and architecture and sculpture was equal parts stunning and soothing and renewing.

  • Found a particular kind of resonance at Quixote Winery, a tiny Gaudi-esque place that very emphatically doesn’t (and will never) distribute en masse, and which doesn’t particularly care about continuity of profile from one year to the next. They make something from each year’s yield that feels right for what’s before them at the moment. God it felt good there.

  • Dreaming session at The Mill in SF, for the one afternoon that we purposefully allowed our thoughts to drift back to Lightward. Happened to be there on a Monday night where—instead of closing—the place transitioned into a pizza joint.

  • Found ourselves sipping wine at a subterranean orchestra hall, in a hidden-in-plain-sight private arts club, where the waiting list to get in is several decades long, listening to a rehearsal that would rival any concert. (“How did my life get weirder?”, I wondered.)

  • Realized that, yeah, we really are city people. More on that later probably. And relatedly, hello from Chicago!


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