So… where have I been? The last five days had me disconnected – from the digital world… and reconnected – with my family.
We took a family vacation to Bermuda over the long weekend. While there, I made the conscious decision to turn off (are you ready…?) my phone (gasp!) data plan (wow, yep) – so that I wasn’t able to tweet, check email, voicemail messages, or even text (yes. really. yikes.). Now… the first day, I admit, I was feeling some withdraw. But a couple days in, I found that I wasn’t really missing my digital appendage all that much. And I definitely wasn’t missing the deadlines, schedules, and requirements of home. I'd tipped the balance, and was enjoying it.
As hard as it was to disconnect, I found it that much more easy and lovely to reconnect with my kids and husband and just have fun. We walked, explored, rode the bus, had picnic lunches, swam, played, and appreciated life at a (slightly) slower pace (okay, obviously, any vacation with young children isn’t slow-paced), without the pressures of schedules and without constantly checking for a new tweet, a new email, or thinking of a new post. I found – rather quickly – that I had more patience. I felt less disjointed and pulled in different directions. I appreciated the little things more. Of course, when you’re surrounded by scenes like this…
…it’s difficult to do anything but be appreciative, grateful, and awed. You just don’t have the craving to return to the pseudo-bright digital world when the real world is so amazingly – and authentically shiny.
But now, we’re back. Kids are back in school, we’re back at the biz. In some ways it is refreshing to be back in a “normal” routine again, yet it is overwhelming at the same time. It’s so cold here in New Jersey; there is still snow on the ground and we’ve been inside. I already feel the pull of my re-connected phone luring me to fall back into the easy habit of quickly checking my email, twitter, facebook, blog posts in spare moments. I’ve already started back reading the blogs I missed while away, and my own blog ideas have begun swirling around in my head again. It’s already easier to disconnect from my children when they want to connect with their games, toys, and computer they haven’t seen all week and I want to straighten things up around the house, plan out my week, or think of all the things we need to get done. When you’re on vacation, you have no choice but to be present and enjoy the moment and being together. When you’re home, there are just so many distractions.
It’s not all bad, the digital world. I appreciate my phone – the quick access to information, the hiding place when I need a moment to myself in the midst of kid-chaos, the immediate tantrum mollification of a giggling baby video. I appreciate my blog and my work where I can write and design. I appreciate my twitter & facebook “friends” (although, let the record show only two – count ‘em TWO – of my 4,000 or so digital friends/followers checked in to see why I hadn’t been updating... puts things into perspective), and my virtual world of blogs and websites. But being alone with my family, enjoying the beauty of nature, and the awesomeness of “us-ness”, the realness of us – THAT – I truly appreciate. Our time together helped me realize what is really important and that I need to work on finding a better balance.