I hope you’ll excuse my absence, dear reader. I’m back online again after three weeks of feeling decidedly allergic to all things digital.
I can merrily go weeks without watching anything on the TV nor even remembering it’s there, but generally start getting edgy within hours if I can’t get online.
However, after being chained to my desk for much of November on two long writing assignments – and after several years of far too much of that and far too many of those – I felt an unmistakeable and pressing need to unplug for a while.
The last three weeks have put into even sharper relief for me a paradox I first became aware of earlier in the year. I’m a journalist by profession and love the process of researching, writing and editing for publication.
But I can no longer deny it. The less time I spend staring at a screen, the healthier and happier I feel and the better life gets.
This year I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy three “digital detoxes” of varying lengths, and each time I’ve quickly found myself in a state of consciousness I never get into when I spend eight (or more) hours a day tooling between Word, Google, WordPress, Facebook and Twitter.
We all know we “should” have days when we stay away from the computer and switch off our Blackberries, iPhones, iPads and all similar gadgets.
But as I need to remind myself of this at such regular intervals, I hope you don’t mind my gently reminding you – especially as we’re heading, just a week from today, for a four-day period when no matter how busy you usually are, chances are you can unplug it all and live life 100% offline.
To give you a quick glimpse into how I’ve spent my spontaneous sabbatical, here’s a brief numerical tour of my December so far.