|Sunset over the Med at Pefkos.|
Stuart Aken has a habit that might be a sensible option for most people. Every year, he takes a break from all things digital. This means he retreats from email, the internet and even the mobile phone. Horror of horrors! No online activity? None? At all?
His theory, and experience, is that such a break refreshes both mind and spirit by removing him from the constant demands of connectivity. Often, he plans this break to coincide with an annual holiday. The only digital activity he pursues is reading books on his Kindle, usually whilst relaxing under the sun by the pool in whatever resort he’s visiting.
This year, he flew to Pefkos on the Greek island of Rhodes. The weather’s still very warm there at the end of September and beginning of October. And the period coincided with a wedding anniversary, which, as an old romantic, he enjoyed celebrating with his wife, Valerie.
Usually, the return brings frantic activity to catch up with all that’s happened during his absence. This year, however, events conspired to interrupt that process. Both holidaymakers caught chest infections on the flight from the UK and spent much of the two weeks overseas coughing and spluttering. Being hardy northerners, this made little difference to their enjoyment, merely making their ascents to various walking destinations a little more breathless than usual. Unfortunately, Stuart also developed a rather nasty eye infection that necessitated a visit to the local pharmacist, who prescribed drops and an eye patch. On return to UK, a visit to the local GP resulted in an appointment at the nearby city hospital Eye Clinic and the need for a less concentrated approach to the return to the screens.
So, the reviews, reports, email responses, Tweets, and Facebook announcement will necessarily be delayed and spread out to aid recovery. He says he’ll have to spend short periods online followed by similar times with eyes shut.
However, as a general rule, the absence from the digital world is a welcome break. It provides a chance to concentrate on issues of the moment, and to immerse body and mind in the activities of now rather than endure the constant interruptions and distractions our online presence overwhelmingly impose.
So, think about taking such a break: risk severing your constant availability to all and sundry, and enjoy some relaxed and spiritually refreshing ‘me’ time away from the demands of others. It might even allow some sanity back into your life.
Meantime, he'll be adding a few items to his blog over the coming few days.