Michael Carty recently published a piece where he was ruminating about how we switch off from the world via our devices. I responded by saying I don’t think the devices are the issue at hand. He asked me why, and I’ve been thinking on it.
And I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
I’m on leave for a couple of weeks now. I’m ready for this break. I’ve been ready to down my tools for a while now. But I’ve been wondering what I need a break from?
I find it easy to switch off from my work as soon as I walk out of the building. I find it easy to fall asleep at night. I eat well. I exercise well. I don’t have any compunctions about thinking about work when I’m not there. I enjoy discussing my profession and interests in my spare time.
But, this post from Julie Drybrough got me on the path. I have a sharp saw, but have I taken the time to sharpen it?
See, I’m fortunate.
By virtue of a raft of enormously generous, clever and wonderful people, I’ve been sharpening my saw regularly. More than that though, I have people who help me to flex different muscles, and who I appreciate in different ways. I value those relationships deeply for they keep me on the good and the true.
At the weekends and evenings, I try to keep myself free of distractions. It’s not easy, and being disciplined to be with the family is a quality I will always believe I can and should do better. But I don’t switch off from the tech around me. I just use it differently to when I’m at work.
It grates on me when people say you need to switch off from your devices. That mindfulness is about not being connected to tech. That’s all baloney.
I get serious itchiness when I feel like I haven’t tweeted or checked Twitter for the latets hottest news. But I also recognise that if I don’t, then life will just carry on. It’ll be ready for me regardless if I choose to be an active member or not. So I let things slide by and I am me.
I have no sage wisdom to deliver here. How we down tools is a deeply personal affair. Their are no absolutes in life, just lots of grey. We don’t need absolutes to live well. Neil Denny described it best when he said it’s about the delicious discomfort of not knowing. I’m deeply comfortable with that as an affair. I don’t need to be in control. I know that when I exercise control, things will happen. When I don’t, things will still happen.
See, I have carefully being putting into practise all the things I write about when I talk about positive psychology and the techniques related to it. I practise #3goodthings daily even though I don’t always share it. I have tried to create as much flow in my life as I can. That is, I arrange to do different activities to help me look after myself and help me be my best self. I accept that sometimes reality hits home and things aren’t always superfabulousamazeballssplendiferous. I share what I know freely to help others.
This has been crafted over a number of years. I’m not done. This isn’t me being perfect. This is me understanding myself very well. Today is a blessing. Tomorrow is an unknown but at least I’ve created things that can happen tomorrow well. If it goes awry, and life often does, then I regroup and carry on.
I also fully recognise that a break is much needed for me. People tend to say “back to reality” when they’re back from holiday. I’ve always tended to believe that your reality is always with you. I’m going to spend time in a reality with people I value and love. I find that to be true at work, with friends, with family, and with myself.