The first question you ask about a vacation of course is, Where are you going to go?
The second question for 21st century vacationers, is Are you going to stay in contact with the office? So many professionals these days have to go to great lengths, literally, to unplug, such as getting out of cell phone reach or even out of the country.
I did take a vacation from email on my recent vacation and breaking from the digital haze was very restful.
But I did something that turned out to be even more refreshing—I took a vacation from the news.
My usual routine is to read the morning paper like clockwork. If I can’t, it throws me off. Not as much as not having coffee throws me off, but still. Thin newspaper days are disappointing and thick newspaper days are a treat.
But the paper is a pleasure with a dark side.
On the one hand, I’m fascinated by world affairs. But on the other hand, paying a lot of attention to problems you have no control over is the express lane to anxiety. You could call it practicing the anti-serenity prayer. Taking action on an issue you care about is entirely different. That can be calming as well as energizing.
I enjoyed the serenity of my news vacation so much I continued it when my actual vacation was over. Now I have a new morning routine. My husband reads the paper and sighs and I read a book or plan my day or just look at the trees in the back yard.
Now that I’ve been home for two weeks, I’m starting to take in a bit more news. But it’s a fraction of what I usually read. I scan the headlines and choose stories about innovation, progress or interesting people.
Here’s my screening method: if a headline sparks my curiosity, inspires me or makes me smile, I read on.
If it makes my heart sink, I skip it.
I recently read that 95% of the thoughts that most people will think today will be the same as the ones they thought yesterday. Who knows how accurate the actual number is, but it had a ring of truth for me.
I certainly know there’s a LOT of repetition to the news I typically consume. And really, what’s the point of spending any hours of my precious life on that?
I’ll probably start reading somewhat more as time goes on. It’s my nature to be curious about how the world works and I doubt that will fundamentally change.
Curiosity is good–it’s compulsion I want to be done with.
Compulsion to drink from the fire hose of information, out of fear, compassion, responsibility, a need for answers or desire to be well-informed. No matter how it leaves me feeling.
I want to keep the choice and freedom I have right now. Because I have a feeling of lightness, and and a sense of more time and space in my mind. Hey, kind of like being on vacation.