restart –  verb | \(ˌ)rē-ˈstärt\

: to make (something) start again after it has stopped
: to start again after stopping

Since I made the decision to update my MacBook very shortly after the release of the newest iOS, El Capitan, I’ve been among the unfortunate users who are struggling with frustrating wifi issues. As in, I’m about to pull my hair out over my online connection, including the speed at which my email retrieves, web pages load, music streams, etc.

While the issue is directly related to El Capitan—it was fine before and now it’s not—things do run better or worse depending on the speed of the internet connection and, apparently, the strength of the wi-fi router.

To undo the iOS installation would take hours plus knowledge and skills I don’t have. To subscribe to a faster internet provider is nearly impossible in our area. And to purchase a stronger wifi router would be very expensive, though that may be the path we eventually follow.

In the meantime, how do I deal with the problem? I constantly restart everything. Sometimes, a simple restart of the router does the trick. Sometimes, I can just restart the wifi connection. Occasionally, I have to restart my laptop. It’s frustrating. And it’s not a long-term solution (please, Apple, fix El Capitan!), but a restart keeps me working.

All these restarts I’ve been performing have me wondering about other kinds of system resets, ones that will help fix my stalled momentum in a long-term writing project, a bug in my social media strategy, and a sense of personal overwhelm that I just can’t shake. When things grind to a halt in my life, like some have done recently, it’s easy to just get stuck in the stall: give up on the project, abandon social media altogether, stay in bed for entire days at a time. I’ve been tempted.

But just like I can’t solve the El Capitan problem by throwing out my laptop (that’s called overkill), I think a few areas in my life just need a restart.

For instance, rather than grow increasingly frustrated that I can’t squeeze in exercise most evenings because of school events or business meetings, I’ve decided to get up early—and I mean EARLY—and head to the gym. No one ever schedules a conflicting event at 4:45 a.m., I’ve discovered. Instead of hitting the snooze and wishing I was more in shape, I set my clothes out the night before and get right up when the alarm goes off. Of course I’m far from feeling secure in my new habit. I fall asleep at 8 o’clock each evening now because I’m so pooped out. And just waking up with one good headache or taking an out-of-town trip could derail the whole thing. But then, I’d just need another restart, right?

I’ve started reading for fun again, too. I love nonfiction. I do. I write it. I like to read it. But too often, I find myself stalled in the middle of four or five different nonfiction books, all good, but none hard to resist. For my birthday, my husband bought me a novel, in hardback, with a slick, removable cover. It wasn’t War and Peace or anything, but it had some interesting characters and a steady plotline and just a few chapters in, I was hooked. I slipped away to our bedroom a few evenings last week just to read a little before falling asleep with the book draped over my face. I haven’t done that in years. When I finished that book, I started another one. And since I’m almost done with it, I’ve got a third book waiting in the wings.

There are other areas, too. I could use a little restart of the way I eat, my work habits, my sleep habits. I hate to admit it, but I could use a restart on my attitude and my prayer life and my relationship with God and Steve and the boys, too.

I’m not going to throw in the towel on any of these things, especially not on my relationships or my life’s calling or the basic values I live by each day. That would be overkill.

But I do need a restart every now and then. And I think now is as good a time as any. I’ve been stalled long enough.

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Photo by Acid Pix, via Flickr, used with permission under the Creative Commons License. Definitions of my word of the week are from Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online.