An Involuntary Check Out

by | Feb 15, 2013 | Empowering, General | 2 comments

It started with a cough. Not a clearing of the throat gentle kind of cough. No, this was a deep down from the depths of the lungs kind of rumble that caused me to pause and think “uh-oh” kind of cough. It appeared on a Friday night as if by magic at 30,000 feet on the airplane back to Seattle after five productively hectic days at a conference in San Diego. I coughed again. The lady in the middle seat beside me squirmed. Oh no.

By the time I landed, body aches had set in. Something wicked was coming this way and I was powerless to stop it.

I spent most of Saturday asleep. Sunday and Monday blurred by horizontally as well. By Tuesday, I was somewhat mobile for limited stretches of time. By then, I felt anxiety creeping in along with my residual fever. I’d not seen my desk in a week and a half. I had clients, commitments, deadlines looming due. The stress alone of those thoughts knocked me out for an hour. Or two.

By Wednesday, I realized everyone gets sick. Everyone. My clients would understand . And they did.

Life would go on. And miraculously, it did.

I had forcibly been removed from the world against my will and the world kept spinning. Day became night. The world went on without me.

What a liberating thought. It hit me as a revelation. It was actually possible for me to check out of the planet with no prior planning and no disaster befell my carefully constructed universe.

With this new insight, I drew an even wider conclusion. Although we know cerebrally that the earth revolves around the sun, each of us, in our own way, are the stars of our own show. We do, in our own heads, truly think that the world revolves around us. Not that falling ill is something I’d call a gift, but this hard won sweet little nugget of humility is something I’ll take with me long after the cough fully clears. It’s OK to check out for a while.

And so I challenge you to consider checking out, too, if only for a lunch hour, an afternoon, a weekend. Witness what happens when the world whizzes by without you. It’s a relief, I think you’ll agree, to learn the planet will spin all on its own axis without your help.

As for me, armed with this new information, I’m thinking perhaps a vacation is in order, a purposeful checking out, no cough drops required.



  1. Andrea Carroll

    Perhaps a vacation in Florida…nice, warm, sunny filled days with Mothers good cooking to warm you in the evenings.

  2. Barbara B.

    Andrea has the right idea – I’m more than ready. No coats, no boots, no layers, just free to be me. Pretty suits, and love those capris. Glad you feel better.