Four days visiting friends in Connecticut left me relaxed, recharged, and ready to head home to New York City.  All of those positive feelings soon dissipated when I realized that my suitcase and my computer were left at the train station.  While trying to remain calm, I was reassured by the conductor that my belongings would be brought to Grand Central Station’s lost and found.  In a week.

Really?  Like so many of us, my computer holds my work, my correspondence, my photographs and videos, and my financial records. My computer is my primary means of communication with family, friends, clients, and the rest of the world.

So, what was it like to spend a week without my computer?

Liberating. Joyful. Eye-opening.  

Fortunately, it was the end of summer, so I had no pressing work deadlines. Email could be answered by iPhone.

What did I do? Read two books. Listened to the podcast S-Town. Spent two hours conquering a knitting pattern that was driving me nuts. Walked and sat in Central Park. Oven-dried lemon verbena for tea…

Sally Schneider

…Scraped vanilla beans into vodka for a new batch of extract. Made quarts of chicken soup.  Went to the gym regularly. Reorganized clothing closets and drawer, one of my least favorite chores. Even ironed some table linens, ironing being another job I loathe. Took a nap one day…


What didn’t I do?  Worked on the new website for my freelance editors’ group. Wasted time on the Internet looking at the news, reading knitting blogs, and doing crossword puzzles. I let go of the constant need to check my email and social media to see if I was missing anything.

Most of all, I had time to think about doing things that I promised myself I would get to someday. I decided to say “Yes” to more invitations and opportunities that were previously outside my comfort zone or that I was just too lazy to accept.  

Sally Schneider / Improvised Life


Yes, to a Grateful Dead tribute concert, even though I’m not a Deadhead. Made coffee dates with acquaintances I had been putting off. Attended to a midweek all-day party near Poughkeepsie. Started mah jong lessons.

When I finally retrieved my stuff a week later, I was almost afraid to hook up my computer, afraid that I would get sucked into those old habits.  So, new rule:

Computer stays off one day each weekend, usually Sundays.  

I find that I am not missing anything.

Harriet Bell



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2 replies on “A Lost Computer’s Lesson in YES

  1. ahh Sally,
    I loved reading this(!),..
    until ‘the end’.

    I was hoping to read YOUR name.

    I frowned,..
    then smiled,
    YOU passed it on.

    (do you think she REALLY ironed?…!)

  2. So my great friend Harriet told me the saga and I thought PERFECT for Improvised Life, and asked her if she would write it. Which she did, perfectly. There’s a friend!…who was my wonderful editor on Improvisational Cook long ago.

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