mnmlist: the beauty of a digital vacation

Yesterday I took a 24-hour digital vacation, ostensibly to protect myself from people spoiling the last episode of Lost for me, but really to just take a break.

It was lovely.

A break from digital communication, which I try to do now and then, is refreshing. It clears your life of the noise, and allows you to find quiet, to focus on the important, to be at peace.

What I didn’t do on my digital break:

  • Check email.
  • Check Twitter or tweet.
  • Check or update Facebook, which I use just for keeping up with family.
  • Read my RSS feeds.
  • Check any news sites.
  • Watch any TV except for the last Lost episode.
  • Watch any YouTube or other online videos.
  • Listen to any radio.
  • Read any Internet except for a few longer articles I already had open in my browser. These were OK, because they were just reading, nothing updated or connected.

Some of the things I did do while on my break:

  • Went for a run with my wife Eva.
  • Did a short zazen session with Eva.
  • Had really nice, long conversations with Eva.
  • Wrote a couple of blog posts.
  • Spent some time playing with my kids.
  • Watched the historic finale of Lost.
  • Had coffee.
  • Read some of the novel I’m reading, John Updike’s Rabbit, Run.
  • Caught up with the aforementioned long articles I’d wanted to read.
  • Shaved my head and beard.
  • Had a short visit from my dad.
  • Had a long, excellent visit with my grandma.
  • Had dinner with my mom and sisters, their kids, and Eva and the kids.

Looking over what I didn’t do, and what I did do, I’d say the day was a success. I did things that gave me joy, and cut out things that just take up my time.

Am I saying we should all cut out these things — email, Twitter, Facebook, reading blogs, reading news? No, I think in smaller doses, they enrich our lives. We just need digital breaks on a regular basis, so they don’t take over our lives.

I plan to take a digital break once a week. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!