Musings from Mama Bird
My son recently returned from an overnight camping trip, one where he didn’t have internet or phone access. He seemed refreshed, renewed…until he started texting, checking his voicemail, and answering his emails. I told him I think he needs to take at least one day off from the virtual world that seems to dominate so many of our lives. He agreed, saying he would unplug one day a week. We’ll see…
In the meantime, I have decided to take my own advice and disconnect from the internet for the rest of this weekend. (I must leave my phone on; most of the texts I receive are from my adult children, and this is, I have found, the most viable way to keep in touch and rest my worried mind.)
About a year ago, I trained myself to not check my work email on weekends and vacation days. The withdrawal I experienced had nothing to do with denying myself something I enjoy. No, like most folks, work-related anything on days away from the office are far from enjoyable. What I encountered–and what kept me checking work email for years–was the mental panic of feeling as if I was missing something important, something that either couldn’t wait for me to return to the office or, worse, something horrible I would be facing at 7:30 the morning I returned. It took about three weekends for me to feel secure and another several weeks before I actually enjoyed my virtual time away from all things work-related. Occasionally, I relapse, but I force myself to hop back on the leisure wagon right away.
For longer than I can remember, I’ve gotten in the rut of logging onto Facebook and Gmail as soon as I wake up, refreshing both accounts many times throughout the day. It eats a big chunk out of my leisure time most days and keeps me from doing things I need to do for my mental health, such as reading, or writing, or playing (albeit poorly) my electronic piano, or knitting, or simply being. There are a lot of projects I’ve started but haven’t come close to finishing, blaming my lack of free time, but I know I’m kidding myself. I have lots of free time; it is up to me to use it wisely.
My plans today, the third day of a five-day weekend, include working on my memoir, reading one of the many books I’ve purchased but walked away from, and maybe shampooing the carpet. (I find the noise from the cleaner soothing and the monotony of it quite relaxing.) Tonight, my husband and I will go to the nearby coffee house to watch my son and his jazz trio play their monthly gig. Tomorrow, I will hop on a bus to Cincinnati to watch a free concert by singers in the city who came to compete in the World Choir Games.
So here I go. After I publish this, I will place my cursor on the little red X on the upper right-hand side of my monitor and shut ‘er down until Monday. Three…two…one…Vacation!
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