Savoring a bit of Real Life

Sometimes, we just need to unplug.

I did that recently — for four days — and found it Liberating.

Sobering, too.

It wasn’t intentional. Nor was it forced upon me.

I just had Other Things To Do. Things that didn’t involve a computer or social media.

Things I like to call Real Life.

(Not that all of you aren’t “real” because of course you are!)

I needed a break from the immediacy of online communication.

Needed to interact with people face-to-face. To dial back on the frantic pace life has become.

Oh, I took a vacation of sorts, and not so long ago.

But I used my computer and/or phone every day, so it didn’t feel very restful.

I needed to rest.

As my friend Barbara said, “We need more down time.”

Some of us more than others.

The lucky ones recognize that — and act on it. The unlucky/stubborn ones spin ’til they drop.

Sometimes literally.

And I certainly didn’t want to do that!

As a society, we’re busy. Running here and there, getting stuff done. Handling perceived crises. Managing.

It’s hard to break away. It feels risky.

We think we’re indispensable.

And it’s humbling to find out that we’re not.

Tweets still get tweeted, blogs are posted, comments are exchanged. Pictures are added to Pinterest, connections are made on LinkedIn, and people do whatever they do on Facebook.

Whether we participate or not.

After a break we feel out of the loop. Like we entered a movie theater while the credits were rolling.

Still, taking a break now and then is a good thing. We need time away to process information, to create, to experience things so we’ll have something new to share when we return.

Don’t you agree?

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22 thoughts on “Savoring a bit of Real Life

    • I needed a break, Suzi. Running a tech business like mine means I must force myself to get away from that screen now and then. Despite the difficulty of putting things on hold, I found the time away quite enjoyable!

    • You went to England? How cool is that, Kim? I’ve never been (it’s on my Must-See List). I admire your resolve to unplug for ten whole days — I’m sure it freed you up to see and do things — and make wonderful memories! You’re an inspiration!!

  1. “Still, taking a break now and then is a good thing. We need time away to process information, to create, to experience things so we’ll have something new to share when we return.”

    Wonderfully said, and I totally agree with you, Debbie!

    This why I pretty much limit myself to certain social medias (mainly blogging) and also the time I spend online. Which is why I don’t want a cell phone with Internet access because it would be too tempting to check emails, blog, a surf the web. Over the past year and a half, I’ve cut back considerably on how much time I spend online. When I first started, I was on my computer constantly. But I noticed something, the more time I spent on my computer, the more ‘spacey’ I felt because I got to a point where I was just surfing the web to just surf and doing nothing.

    As you said, there has to be a balance of online/offline time because we need to experience things in order to share them, and we can’t do it if we’re always online.

    AWESOME post, my friend! Well spoken!

    X

    • “the more time I spent on my computer, the more ‘spacey’ I felt. . .”
      YES, absolutely, Ron, and very well said!

      Too often, those of us who are in the tech field (web design is creative as well as techy) spend far too many hours just staring at a screen. When that’s billable time, it’s not so hard — at least there’s a payoff, ha! When you’re doing it for social reasons, it’s fun, but maybe we’re not meant to have ‘fun’ all day long!

      I’d kind of reached the point where I didn’t have anything to say. Nothing NEW to bring to the table. I don’t think it was writer’s block, as much as same-old/same-old, if you know what I mean.

      Anyway, now that I know it can be done, I probably should force myself to take breaks more often! Thanks for stopping by and weighing in, my friend — have a super rest-of-the-week!

  2. I haven’t unplugged purposefully in a very long time. And I agree that you do need to stop spinning from time to time. Thanks for the inspiration and the proof that one can unplug and come back better than ever. Yes, of-course, you were missed!

    • Gee, thanks, Kb — I love hearing that I was missed! I missed ALL of my online friends as well, and I was eager to catch up with what was going on in their lives. Glad I inspired you — and c’mon, you know you’d like a break, too (perhaps take your boy on a special vacation?!!)

    • Thanks for the validation, Professor. I suppose a planned break is better than a forced, unplanned one, especially if the latter is caused by exhaustion!

  3. Of course, there’s another alternative. We can reshape our lives so the need to unplug isn’t such a big deal.

    It’s like vacations, or weekends. Some people look forward to vacations because the rest of life is so stressed and/or unhappy. TGIF became popular because so many people dread Monday and can’t wait for Friday.

    Far better, methinks, to live to the extent possible in contentment, doing what we can to make our day to day lives the sort of life we hope for when we unplug, vacate, or get down with the weekend. There are tradeoffs, for sure. For me, it’s meant choosing to live with less money. A lot less. And I’ll work until I’m not able to, I suppose. But the good news is that I can set my own pace at work, and not be at the beck and call of beeping, whistling and ringing gadgets. Everyone has to find their own way, but it sure works for me.

    • Actually, I, too, am one of those who love my work AND relish being the boss — a really good place to be, huh? It’s just when things get hectic and pressures (many of my own making, I’m afraid) become unbearable that I long for an island some place where it’s just me, the sun, and the lapping waves!

      The older I get (gee, that sounds “old,” doesn’t it?), the more contentment I crave. My work occasionally is such that I don’t get a weekend or a holiday (rather like being in the newspaper biz again!). But websites go down, updates need to be made — right now! — and a novel I’m riding the Struggle Bus to complete is taking way too much time to do so. Sigh. Patience never was my long suit!

      Thanks for showing me how it can be done — and modeling it, too!

    • Two weeks?? I’m not sure I could’ve done that, Monica, and I admire you for doing so. I happen to LOVE my gadgets and wouldn’t want to be without them. It’s just that sometimes, I don’t love them, you know, because they have a way of becoming all-consuming, demanding, and needy! A periodic unplug, then, seems to be the answer. Thanks for dropping by to show me it’s possible!

  4. I’m with you on this! For the next two weekends, I’ll be computer-free. While I’m without the computer, it’s fine… my problem is that I knock myself out trying to catch up when I get back. I need to learn to just let go what I missed and pick up when I get back. I know the world goes on without me, but I just like to keep up with what’s going on. Glad you had a few days off :)

    • Janna, I share that anxiety — knowing I have to come back and play catch-up is much worse than being unplugged for a bit! I think you’ve got the right idea, though — I tend to READ the posts I’ve missed, but only COMMENT on the most recent ones, when I’ve taken a break. I want to be in the loop, you see, but I don’t want to inconvenience my blogging friends by having to reply to belated comments. Maybe that’s not entirely realistic, but it feels like that to me. Enjoy your free weekends!!

  5. Yes I totally, absolutely, positively agree! And I thank you for the mention, Debbie. I’m glad you got away from the computer screen – we’re better for the walking away because we keep our balance. As you said, no need to spin out of control.

    • You’re most welcome, Barb. Never should we get so busy that we fail to take care of ourselves, and rest is integral to that. Like you said, keeping our balance. Glad you understand — and agree!

  6. I agree with you. I’m shocked at how I have to use all my tech stuff everyday. I haven’t even been crocheting as much. I’m glad you taught yourself a valuable lesson that it’s good to take a break now and then.

    Off subject here. I was thinking of you this weekend. I was telling my son about your photography. He’s one also and has taken some beautiful pictures. I would love for you to see some if I can figure out how to do that.

    • I’d be delighted to see your son’s work, Tanya! Is he making a living at photography, or is it a hobby for now? Best of luck, however he chooses to pursue it.

      I used to crochet, too. My roommate taught me (and my grandma reinforced the lessons). It was so relaxing, and I loved being able to immediately see the fruits of my labors. Sadly, I haven’t done it in a LONG time. You’d think our long, cold winters would be perfect for it, too!

  7. I absolutely do agree, Debbie and need very much to follow your lead on this. “The immediacy of online communication” certainly does take a toll on one’s ability o relax in the moment. The thing is, life goes on with or without us and if we leave for a bit, it’s not hard to pick back up again. Even short breaks away help me. When we went to Italy last September for 11 days, I found out, the world does not stop just because I’m offline! It was very refreshing to not be tethered to all the technology.

    • Thanks for validating my experience, Kathy! Eleven days in Italy sounds heavenly — I know you were too busy soaking up the “motherland” to miss being online. Yes, even a short break now and then serves to refresh us, to give us a clearer view of solving problems, and to spur our creativity. So if I’m not “here” all the time, I’m probably taking a “sanity break,” Ha!

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