If you’re a regular reader here, maybe you’ve noticed my absence for the last several weeks. It’s been the dog days of summer here in New England, raining nonstop, then boiling hot, then more rain. In spite of the weird weather, we in the Northeast treasure our summers ferociously, trying to capitalize on the three months of the year when snow and blizzards are unlikely. So, I too have been haunting the beaches, the lakes and the mountains, rain or shine. But, most notably, I’ve been almost completely unplugged from my devices (except for my professional voicemail), and LOVING IT!!!
For weeks now, no blogging, no radio shows, no YouTube videos, hardly a tweet, no clever Facebook entries, no LinkedIn updates, no book drafts, no cellphone calls, nothing!
Instead of daily “tech dialysis” I’ve gone tooling around without the world being able to contact me, and the only one who even seems to notice is my husband who thinks it’s inconsiderate. (We’re working on a compromise).
I’ve gone to lunches and dinners with people I enjoy having conversations with, instead of whining to tech support.
I’ve gotten off my laptop and rekindled connections with colleagues and old friends. (They’re still alive!)
I’ve actually been reading books and magazines just for fun! Freedom from emails and Google!
I’ve been preparing for my boating license test, learning all about “starboard stand-on” versus “port give-way,” halyards, double clove knots, and such vital things I’ll need to know on the waterways when I’m supposedly “manning the vessel.”
I’ve gone on hikes, bike rides, and car rides in the countryside instead of doing professional gigs.
I’ve nurtured my garden, watered the lawn, planted new beds, and fought Japanese beetles instead of battling scam sites and internet viruses.
I’ve visited other cities, just for fun trips to see the sites. (Cheated a bit with some book promo).
I’ve watched movies, plays and silly TV shows without any “productive justification.”
And miraculously, without all the internet busyness, I’ve gone to sleep most nights at a normal hour, not on my usual vampire schedule!
I’m telling you, getting unplugged can be a total joy! How novel – life without devices! Try it!
Big Summer Cheers,
I’ve been away from this blog for a few weeks because I generally don’t relish being indoors, sitting on my butt and writing when the weather is glorious outside. So, I’m sitting on my butt, outside, in my breezeway, talking to all of you.
I’m hosting another BlogTalk Radio episode on Wednesday, June 26th at 8:30 PM EST dealing with this issue: how you can strike a balance between your “to do” list, have fun, enjoy the weather, nurture your relationships, and nurture yourself. (It hurts my head just thinking about it!)
Here in New England people often experience Summertime Blues because the season is so short before the blizzards come, and the balance feels impossible. I try to dedicate the rainy month of June to cleaning out the garden beds, reseeding lawns, cleaning and putting in screens and air conditioners, bringing down summer clothing from the attic, cleaning and pulling out the kayaks, getting our boat ready for the water, pulling out all the beach toys, finishing up any pressing paperwork, and generally going CRAZY if the weather is lovely and not rainy! I can tell you one thing right away: you have to pick and choose, you won’t get to it all expertly, so chill out! It’s summer! Have some FUN, dammit!
If you’d like to join me on the air on the 26th, call in toll-free at 877-497-9046 and share any ideas you may have for not having a meltdown, but having balance instead, now that it’s summer.
At this writing, I’m on a C & J express bus to my old stomping ground, New York City, for a weekend with my little sister. I’m a strong believer in short getaways as a way of refueling, particularly if the getaway gets you away from your spouse for awhile. That may sound cold, but sometimes a little space has a big positive impact on a marriage. How, you ask?
1. You reconnect with separate friends and relatives on your own without worrying about the mix with a spouse who may not share your enthusiasm for jewelry shopping, lattes, and schmoozing.
2. You re-experience your individual selves which brought you two together. My husband will probably be doing yard work till midnight, watching the news for hours each morning, eating no vegetables except for vodka (made from potatoes), puttering around his workshop, answering no calls, and fondling his new camera he’s afraid of using. He’ll be in Introvert Heaven. I’ll be tooling around the city with my baby sister, bossing her around, buying makeup and doodads, going to museums if it rains, people watching, yakking with strangers, and eating every ethnic thing in sight. I’ll be in Extrovert Heaven.
3. You break up the sometimes oppressive routine of your life with more consciousness. In my case, I was amazed to see how many vitamins and creams and solutions and meds I take on any given day just to go on living! I could barely fit it all in my suitcase! I like to think of myself as robust and traveling lightly on this Earth. Apparently, not so….
4. You appreciate all the comforts of home in a renewed way. I don’t usually get excited about having a level, stable surface to type on, but today, with the bus jiggling and swaying, I’m realizing how special it is to have tables and desks to put my laptop on, and not worry it will go flying off into the yonder. Small things…..
5. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Because I’m a bit morbid and fatalistic, I don’t presume I’ll make a safe return from ANYWHERE, so I kissed my husband goodbye four times, and hugged him as though I was leaving for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. And now that the bus is approaching the slums of the city limits, I miss him already….. 😐
PS. Get a still early copy of my new book, now newly anointed with the Couplespeak™ trademark! If you live long enough, it may be considered an important 21st century artifact! On Amazon:
“Become Relationship Smart Without A Lifetime Of Therapy”
I’m a very regimented person. I get up at the same time each day, do the morning teeth and face cleanse, make a cup of coffee, balance my accounts, pay some bills, answer my voicemail, check my email, do some dishes, dead-head the garden flowers, make my lunch, do a workout, watch the news, eat the same breakfast, take a shower, get dressed, drive to my office, see some clients, return more voicemails, grab the same lunch, see more clients, answer more voicemails, schmooze with colleagues, drive home, make some calls, change clothes, go for a garden walk, have some dinner with my husband, watch more news, watch a TV episode, do some writing, do some reading, and go to bed. Then it all starts and ends the same way the next day until the weekend when it’s a different, slightly more exotic routine.
I’m also very governed by “shoulds” like, “I should keep appointments”, “I should work out six days a week”, “I should be more patient”, “I should always be learning”, “I should write in my blog”, “I should write another article”, “I should work on my next book”, “I should finish my membership site”, I should prepare for my radio show”, “I should get my finances ready for the accountant and Quickbooks”, “I should go to more plays and concerts”, “I should answer my Facebook messages”, “I should volunteer”, “I should go back to Italy”, “I should lose twenty pounds”, “I should be a better friend, sister, mother, and wife”, “I should exfoliate more often”, “I should talk more slowly”, “I should stretch daily”, “I should clean the refrigerator”. (On and on, and on, and on…..) It’s a wonder I’m not depressed!
So, I’ve challenged all my “shoulds,” and given myself a break from blogging, writing, etc. to be outside this Spring “enjoying” hauling mulch, spreading stones, raking, planting and painting. (Ain’t life grand!) I’ve once again put up a sign saying, “Gone Fishing”!!!!!!!!
If any of this “good girl” routine sounds familiar to you, remember that sometimes, for some of us, “goofing off” and “breaking the rules” is a good thing.
I should go to bed,
Have you ever spent a weekend in solitude, tucked in doing various kinds of self care? If not, I’d recommend that you try it sometime, especially if your daily life / work involves intense contact with lots of people, (like my work as a psychotherapist).
I seem to spend one weekend in an extroverted mode, going places and doing things which involve a lot of social contact, then the next weekend living like a hermit, attending to the long personal “to do” list. This weekend I barely went outdoors, except for a few hot tubs, and an excursion to bring out the garbage! Instead, I tucked in yesterday during the snow, reading and writing in front of a roaring fire, cooking, doing book work, having a lovely workout in my gym, and visiting briefly with family when they were here. I thought about going for a snowshoe hike, but that seemed like too much work in the wind and the cold.
Today was equally lovely – up late, a long, Pilates workout, writing letters, answering emails, doing laundry, petting the cat, and just hanging out!
If you can overcome some negative self-talk about behaving like a sloth, the whole idea of slowing down and “going internal” can be absolutely delicious. Everything in our world is geared to rushing around and packing multiple things into a “productive” day. I find it oppressive at times. I’d definitely recommend reconnecting with yourself in a quiet, caring way, with some regularity. Just remember to brush your teeth and get some exercise, and you’ll be fine……. 😉