Monday, September 28, 2009

Away from the Fray

I'm back, after a little over a week spent nearly entirely off-line. I just felt like a break from my computer, and I have to say that staying away wasn't really all that hard. I did answer email because ignoring that would have felt like not picking up the phone, and also because I have to email for work, but for 10 days I didn't blog or read blogs, didn't check on Facebook or Twitter, didn't go to any websites for news or reviews or for anything. I was completely status update free.

I've spent most of my life without the internet; I'm old enough that I didn't even own a computer until well after college. This habit of getting up in the morning and immediately sitting down in front of the keyboard to find out what happened overnight is relatively recent, even if it feels as if I've been reading Slate and Salon forever. I have to say, though, that old media also does the trick. It's still possible to read the newspaper and be caught up. Being informed does not have to equal immediacy. Roman Polanski was just as arrested 12 hours after the fact as he was the second the story broke.

The truly freeing part of the past 10 days, though, has been my freedom from posting anything, anywhere. I write this blog mainly for myself, because I like to write and because writing this helps force me to engage with various topics and helps me to think about things. However, after 20 months, I do go through periods where thinking about new things and then writing about them is a chore. It can be hard to have something to say several days a week, and to remove that pressure for a week felt great. This is precisely why I don't Twitter: I'd drive myself crazy with the pressure to be interesting a day long, and no one is interesting all day long. I'm barely interesting two or three times a week. Taking some time to recharge offline helped me to see that, yes, I do like the time I spend here or on Facebook or wherever, but that I have to see it as leisure and not as work. I have to treat it as leisure and not as work.

The ability to keep up with everything and everyone is an opportunity, but going away once in a while is also an opportunity. Away from the computer I got more book-reading done, spent more time outside my house, spent more time with the living and breathing. I'm back now, recharged, but an offline respite is definitely something I highly recommend.

1 comment:

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

I thought the bigger issue with Twitter for you, was saying something in 140 charecters or less.

Not like your glib, but hell a paragraph is more than 140 charecters.

I use twitter more for the links to newspapers around the country. Also I love to tweet insults to Glenn Beck's fans.