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.
Stacie Zinn Roberts is a nationally recognized, award-winning writer and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience. She has won more than 40 national awards for her work including the United Nations Environmental Program for retail environmental marketing, as well as from organizations such at the Public Relations Society of America and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. She’s written for industry publications such as Golf Course Management, Sports Turf, Golfdom and PR Daily. She spent eight years as the president and director of marketing for Environmental Turf, where she developed the branding for SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, the grass that eventually became the greens grass for the Rio Olympic Golf Course. Stacie served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Florida Turfgrass Association as Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee where she worked closely with the scientists from the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program. Stacie founded What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in 2012.