By Kia Thomas, aged 30 ½*
*the half being half a decade.
Hello there! I am back from my holiday. Did you miss me? No need to answer – I know there’s been a hole in your life ever since I went away. It’s okay now. I have returned, and I’d like to share with you some of the things I did on said holiday.
- Went “outdoors”. Fellow homeworkers, you know this place. It’s where you have to go when you take the kids to school or put the bins out. I don’t visit it very often, but as this trip involved a music festival, a theme park, a fake beach in London and a real beach in Dorset, I didn’t have much choice in the matter. It’s quite nice there. Lots of weather.
- Failed, once again, to truly understand the appeal of camping. Shopping for camping gear, I enjoy. Actually using it? Not so much.
- Discovered that to make the experience of standing in a cold, wet and windy field waiting for a band you didn’t even like that much when they were actually popular in the 90s even more fun, you should tell your six-year-old she can’t have an ice cream.
- Finally finished A Song of Ice and Fire.
- Spent a good half an hour cursing everyone who told me to hang in there because A Song of Ice and Fire would get less tedious.
- Took a nice long break from social media. This here’s the important bit. Even though my job and the modern world mean that I can do my marketing and networking anywhere there is an internet connection, I made a conscious decision that, for the duration of my holiday, I would stay away from Facebook and Twitter. And as decisions go, it was a pretty good one. Don’t get me wrong – I love social media. I can connect with potential clients, find out about trends in publishing, and, last but by no means least, stay engaged with the wonderful online community of editorial professionals. The value of this, both business-wise and personally, is huge. But there’s no denying that social media can be a massive time-suck. This has long been a problem for me, starting with when I spent far too much time on parenting forums when my children were younger (did you know that there is almost no limit to the amount of times a group of bored mums can chat/debate/argue about breastfeeding?). The things is, the internet is just too damn interesting. Here’s a funny tweet, which is actually a thread, which includes a link to an interesting article … before I know it, I’ve spent an hour looking at stuff, my eyes hurt, my brain is full, and I have failed to notice that my children are destroying the house. I really enjoyed my break from that. I had more energy, and I engaged more with the people and things around me. Now I’m back in work mode, I find myself slipping in to my old bad habits and spending too much time online, and the only way I’ve so far managed to rein myself in is to go offline completely. And this is unhelpful, for the reasons I mentioned earlier. So, this is my new goal – to find ways of engaging with my online world without it having a detrimental effect on my offline one. I’m sure there must be people out there who manage to strike that healthy balance, and if you’re one of them, please – for the sake of my children, my sanity, and my data allowance – do share your tips!
And now, it’s back to life, back to reality. Which is okay, I suppose. At least I don’t have to sleep in a tent.