I need a reboot. Not my laptop. My life. I’m sitting here staring at my calendar, and it’s packed. Three deadlines are breathing down my neck. Eight calls need to be returned. Two people are waiting outside my office for tough conversations. The school just phoned and my teenage daughter is being … well, a teenage daughter.
I think my parents were magicians. They both worked, but our house ran like clockwork; they seemed to have an innate sense of peace and confidence in their jobs and at home. Mom? Her lectures were swift and efficient. And if she needed it, she had her not-so-secret weapon: Dad. “Your Father is going to be so disappointed in you.” Disappointed was code for an inventive restriction that guaranteed we’d never do that again. Hated it at the time, but now? I’m in awe.
Life’s different today. I’m baffled at this parenting stuff. I’d like the kids to look up from their phones for a second. I want us to connect, but …
Last month, we’re driving Jenny to a college visit. I’m looking forward to the long trip to catch up. It starts fine but ten miles in, it turns into a screaming match. I’m not even sure what set her off. She’s calling me words I didn’t even know she knows, and when the meltdown is over, we spend three hours in cold silence. I’m calculating. Trying to devise a response. Well. Let’s just say she hasn’t really spoken to me since.
It’s not much better at work. The sales team isn’t pulling their weight. Ben and Claire haven’t delivered their numbers in over a year, and the whole group is taking advantage of my busy-ness to slack. At last week’s meeting, I’m going over the numbers, giving them my best General Patton speech — the end is near! I get a collective shrug, some weak commitments to “do better.” A few minutes later, I hear them all in the break room, laughing and joking about who can be first to Happy Hour. I wanted to go in there, fire the lot of them, and start fresh.
Start fresh? Hmm. It sounds so simple. Reboot the system, wipe the slate clean; call a “do over.” A new beginning sure would be nice. But life’s not like that.