First, I went away for a week and didn’t bring my computer. Then I decided to turn off my phone — no constantly checking voicemail, no sending text messages. No responsibility to check in, no pull to respond to other people (except my sweetie, and she was there in person with me), no hurrying.
Being out of touch felt awesome.
I was surprised I didn’t grab for the computer the second I got back from Rockport, but I didn’t. I was enjoying my sense of peace and quiet a little too much to jump back into the online fray. I checked very few things online before heading out without the computer again for a few days, this time to NYC.
I didn’t have withdrawal fits, I didn’t get all twitchy needing to look up things, I didn’t feel left out that I wasn’t twittering events. Yes, there were folks that I missed — but I knew you all would be here when I got back. And isn’t part of the fun in going away catching up with folks when you return?
As much as I love the web, I think completely unplugging is a great sanity check. Working with a computer every day, with a fabulous bunch of geeks, is something I’m lucky to do — yet I didn’t think about software even one time when I was on vacation. Which is probably how most people go about their day, every day: not thinking about software, not using the web the vast majority of their waking hours. So what did I do?
I took photographs. (Some are even on film, so I have to be patient and get them developed before I know how the new and new to me cameras are working.) I went to bed when I was tired, and got up without an alarm clock — still pretty early — just about every day. I went beachcombing and gallery crawling, finding unexpected treasures. I listened to waves, floated in the ocean, and let my head empty of the everyday noise noise noise.
Now I’m back, and rested (and pretty damn tan), and convinced I can carry some of this quiet back with me to the web and to work. I’ve got a lot to do — and I’m saying this even before I see how many messages are sitting in my work inbox — but I think I’ll feel better about getting it done if I don’t give in to the noise and the hurry. I want believe those things are optional for the other fifty weeks in the year and I can still accomplish good work. Call it the jedi vacation mind trick, but I’m going to try.