My name is Angela Watson, and I’m an internet addict. That’s not a new revelation or a recent phenomenon–I’ve spent too much time online for years now, and though I’ve long been aware of it, I’ve recently been taking bigger and bigger steps to spend more time away from the computer.
A few months ago, I started observing a day rest of from Friday at sundown to Saturday at sundown: no computer use at all (though I will read on my iPad sometimes) and even thoughts about anything work related are off-limits. This day of rest has been transformative for me and from the first time I tried it, I knew it would become a lifelong habit. I love knowing that there are 24 hours each week in which I can rest my mind and feed my soul without feeling guilt or that vague nagging sense that I should be doing something productive.
The benefits of rest had already been swirling around in my mind when it came time for my husband and I to take our annual vacation to celebrate our anniversary. I considered scheduling out my Facebook and Twitter posts in advance and lining up guest bloggers to post for me. But in the end, I decided not to. Am I really so important that you all can’t live without my posts for 2 or 3 weeks? Will I lose all of my followers, stop selling books, and plunge into complete obscurity because I dared to turn off the computer for part of June and July? No. At least, I hoped not.
I left my blog, social media profiles, and (gasp!) email mostly unattended since June 27 and began resuming everything slooowly this week. And the world did not come crashing down. My web hits and book sales were still steady. No one hacked my Facebook page. Spammers didn’t destroy my comment section. The world continued to turn without me, and that is a really, really good feeling. A relief, really, to know that I can step away and take some time for myself without having an enormous amount of mess to clean up when I return.
These past few weeks, I was someplace where it’s nearly impossible not to gain a more healthy perspective of one’s self: Alaska. Following the ISTE conference in San Diego, I flew up to Vancouver to meet my husband, and we took a one way cruise from there up the inside passage of Alaska. We then rented a car and explored the Alaskan interior.
Alaska is getting about 18 hours of daylight this time of year and we really packed it in from sun up to sun down. Our days were spent ziplining, rappelling, horseback riding, hiking, glacier climbing, riding in sea planes (which take off and land in water), jet boats, trains, seeing museums, parades, lots of native heritage demonstrations and exhibits, long drives in the mountains, and eating fresh salmon daily. I took over 1200 photos and have just started going through them all, but I wanted to share a few images to give you an idea of how beautiful Alaska really is.
My plan was to get right back in the swing of things in preparation for launching my new book on the 15th (which, wow, I’m realizing is now TOMORROW.) But it’s summertime. You all are enjoying your break from school. Hopefully you’re sleeping in sometimes, spending time with your family, eating some good meals, and getting to relax. There’s no rush to pull you back into the world of school and work right this second.
So this past week, I decided to enjoy a few more days away from the computer. I went to visit a friend who had a baby while I was gone, had lunch with two other friends I rarely get to see, and had dinner with yet another friend and her family before they leave the country for a few weeks. Then my aunt came in to visit me from Virginia and I spent some time just talking with her and catching. It was really nice to focus on my “real life” relationships without the distraction of constantly checking my phone or hopping on the computer whenever I had a spare moment.
I love helping teachers and I’m passionate about my work–if I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do so much. But I know that taking a break is a good thing. I hope you’re getting to enjoy one, too.
How is your summer going? What are you doing to relax and rejuvenate yourself before the new school year begins?