Silent meditation retreats have appealed to me for years (I’ve only ever been on one, but it was great), but this week I went on a different type of silent retreat.
After working exclusively from home for the two years, I’ve definitely noticed that I get sick a lot less. I get to avoid other humans and their germs and I’m not subjected to being crammed into an office each day and just praying that Patient 0 isn’t hidden somewhere waiting to infect me. Even so, I’m by no means immune to sickness. I still have to go outside of the house on occasion.
One of my friends is a high school teacher and after hanging out with him over the weekend and subsequently hearing that he came down with something bad on Monday, I knew I was doomed. I hit me pretty hard on Wednesday and by Thursday, aside from still feeling pretty terrible, I had absolutely no voice. I think it was a combination of getting sick and doing an hour-long phone consult Wednesday morning. What limited vocal capacity I’d had was spent.
When I woke up on Thursday morning, it was clear that this whole “talking” thing wasn’t happening. I canceled all my meetings and began about 32 hours of not speaking at all, to anyone.
The surprising part of it was that I had what was probably the most productive day of 2017. Sure, it was in large part because I had no meetings but I’ve always felt (at least since I started working on the web) that my clearest thinking comes while typing out my thoughts. Having typing be my only outlet forced into my most productive medium.
Conversely, this is what gave rise to the hardest part of switching from QWERTY to Dvorak; the solid week where each keystroke was a deliberate mental and physical effort and I couldn’t use typing to process my mind stream.
But yesterday wasn’t like that; I was on fire. My thinking flowed unobstructed from my mind to my fingers to my keys onto my screen and over the web. I think the strangest part was texting my wife from my computer while she was right next to me.
I think the strangest part was texting my wife from my computer while she was right next to me.
The other interesting realization I had was how much people expect you to talk, even if it’s just a short, “Hi”. My wife and I went to the market and on a few other errands and it was only through not being able to speak that I realized how often you’re expected to produce some sort of audio as a response to other people’s inquiries. Everyone wants to know how you’re doing (even if they don’t particularly care all that much) or to be acknowledged. I don’t have some profound analysis about how this reflects on society; it was just an interesting phenomenon to have an awareness of.
Today, Friday, seems better. UpBuild is kicking off with a new client today and I have a few other meetings that I had to reschedule for today. We’ll see how it goes.
Photo Credit: Anas Alshanti