I know I don’t post *all* that frequently, but Jesus, these last two weeks have been rough ones for this here old blog.
First, there was the very intentional disconnect I made when going to the south of France to stay in an old stone house with no internet and only an expensive roaming package on my iphone to keep me in touch with the outside world. It couldn’t have come at a better time, seeing as my work stress levels hit a peak (can they do that? I thought being freelance meant no stress was allowed to take over my life?) and the bombings at the Boston Marathon brought up not only crappy long-buried psycho issues (I’d say PTSD but that’s not a legit disease, so, um, let’s say nightmares that I haven’t had in a couple of years) but also turned media and the Tea Partiers in my family into ueber-nationalistic pro-gun lunatics and I desperately needed to not talk to anyone or read the news in order to maintain my sanity.
So there was that. It was refreshing. Not only the decision but the mandatory follow-through. Even if I wanted to fire off some missive about how people sick enough to blow the legs off runners at their peak has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you should be able to buy an AK-47 when you turn 12, I couldn’t. That’s what has been missing in my life — not the desire, the follow-through.
And then I came back from the Riviera refreshed and ready to be respected and had a whole bushel full of “shit I was going to do to keep the vacation happiness a-flowin’ in my every day life,” also known as plans to bring some regularity into my life by a) not being online so much and b) telling the people who expected me to be online all the damned time that they could shove it. The follow-through.
The first e-mail I sent, in which I said I would no longer be available for a client on Sundays, citing work-life balance, got a very unhappy response. Fine.
The second thing I did, deleting a shit-ton of friends and Tea Partiers from Facebook, got a very unhappy response. Fine.
The third thing I did, intentionally leaving my iphone at home while I went to the playground with my kid so I could actually enjoy my time with her and focus on her in the present, got a very happy response from my kid. Awesome. Three is bigger than 1 or 2 so I’m planning on sticking with it.
And then something funny happened. A storm blew in, there was a power surge (I think) and randomly, my wireless stopped working… followed by the DSL and landline telephone. My only connection to the outside world was my iphone, which has a ridiculously bad data package (I only use it while traveling or with wifi) that allows me to check email about twice a day before going over my limit. And Vodafone, awesome as they are, took a week to fix it.
I wanted to bitch. I hate Vodafone and their stupid tactics and poor tech service, I really do.
But being without internet or telephone was refreshing. Forced follow-through on a plan I was/am confident is the right one for me to help me find my work/life balance again.
Client 1 from above sent a series of not immediately responded-to emails and ended up, over the course of three hours, in a monologue, deciding not to work with me again. Fine.
I had to organize my working life so that everything was done ahead of me going to a friend’s office to steal wireless internet connection for an hour. Time management, something I never have while working online, was dead on.
As you can see from this blog post, my internet’s back up and running and I’m using it. But I seriously don’t even know what to do with myself now when I am online. I’m not going to be as insane as this journalist for The Verge, who went offline for a year, but I am going to start making some serious changes to how connected I remain in the future. I remember after my daughter was born vowing to not let the laptop distract me from her amazingness. It’s time to renew that vow. I just hope that everyone else can handle that.