Hit Refresh

Poolside (Credit: Susie Moore)

It’s a pretty simple suggestion: “Hit refresh.” If you’re someone who spends much time at the computer, it’s probably one you see and/or remind yourself of regularly. Something isn’t working right — an image or page isn’t loading — and some piece of information you seek remains just out of your grasp…until you refresh your browser. And then suddenly, everything rights itself, and the item you sought now renders before you in proper fashion. (Usually, anyway – there are, of course, those times when merely refreshing won’t quite do the trick. Then comes the true adventure in troubleshooting.)


It’s also a decent metaphor and reminder for the life we live offline. (Oh, come on, we all live some life offline. For now, at least.) Every so often — perhaps more often than we’d like — things just aren’t working right. Could be a relationship (romantic or otherwise), or a situation at work. Could be something minor, like a traffic tie-up, or something major, like a serious illness or injury. Or maybe it’s something even bigger than that — the whole world seemingly going to hell in a handbasket and the nagging worry that we’re powerless to stop it. Before too long, the frustration and negativity can build to the point of toxicity. While (metaphorically) hitting refresh may not fix everything, it can help reset and provide a fresh perspective — and sometimes, that can be just as valuable.

I started off this Memorial Day weekend musing on the important role the Rule of Law plays in safeguarding our freedoms:

Most of us are celebrating this holiday weekend with cookouts and ballgames and pool time with friends and family. How fortunate we are, and how thankful we should be that this amazing, wonderful, FREE nation of ours is kept safe by the sacrifices of those courageous men and women who’ve chosen to serve and to fight for it. God bless them. God bless the fallen. And God bless the USA.

While my Saturday started off busy, with a shift at the dog shelter where I volunteer followed by a partial shift here at the RedState desk, I made the most of the afternoon and evening, enjoying some time at the pool with my daughter, and grabbing a bite to eat for dinner with my handsome beau, doing my darnedest to soak up those freedoms.


This, in turn, meant I spent very little time online scrolling Twitter or contemplating the latest news headlines. So when I Iogged on Sunday morning to cover another brief desk shift and opened up Twitter to see what the latest buzz was, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes a bit over the latest outrage. Because it all seemed so trivial in the whole scheme of things.

Oh, I get it. My job necessitates I spend a great deal of time online and it’s easy to get sucked into the various squabbles and such. But the more time we spend with our noses to the touchscreen, the more out-of-touch we become with the people and world around us. And that’s no plus.

Not the first time I’ve shared this sort of observation.

There’s a double-edged sword to attending large events like this festival — cell phone service can be spotty. (I assume that’s a function of traffic/usage, but maybe the festival grounds were just in a random dead zone.) That’s not so great when you’re intent on communicating with your kids and/or posting pics to social media. But it’s a delightful forced Time Out from the political maelstrom. And after the past few weeks, that was welcome.

So I spent much of the weekend, blissfully (somewhat) unaware of the headlines and hot takes. Oh, there was a political t-shirt or two among the crowd. (I saw a “Moms Demand Action” tee and a “Girls Support Girls” tee – which I read as subtle commentary on the Kavanaugh saga.) But there, in the middle of “flyover country,” in a red state that leaned heavily Trump in 2016, in a college town that leans left (and garnered a bit of a snowflakey reputation a couple years back), no one was arguing over SCOTUS nominations or the upcoming mid-terms or expressing the outrage which pervades social media.

A diverse (in age, ethnicity, orientation, style, and — undoubtedly — politics) group of people were gathered in a park to eat, drink, and listen to some music. And it was just shy of Heaven.

There was no sign of the tension, angst, or animosity which flourishes online (and often spills over to “real life” anymore.) There weren’t tribes or battle lines.

People were just there being people. Enjoying their friends and family. Sampling tasty food ranging from roasted pig to fish tacos to funnel cakes and ice cream. Enjoying some beer (domestic and craft) without worry as to whether it threatened their future SCOTUS aspirations. Soaking in some sun and cool evening air, dancing and singing along with artists soulful and lively.

And I thought to myself, “We’re fine.” If we can just remember to take a breath every once in awhile and acknowledge the blessings around us, we will be.


But it’s a critical reminder — to get outside and live — not just vicariously. To be part of the world and not just a cog in the digital dimension. It’s vital to unplug on the regular, so that we can hit refresh and keep things in perspective. Even the most thorny of difficulties are better met clear-eyed than wearied.


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