Having Gone Off Line
Not for lack of access (I had my laptop with its built in modem and a phone line handy.), I was off line for four whole days. Instead of connecting and keeping my email inbox lean by copiously deleting, or logging in here, I spent a few days hanging out with family, not doing much of nothing except hanging out, playing cards, eating a bunch, running errands here and there. Most of the work I do, and many of my social connections, are conducted by email. So when I was off line, I was gone for three days from the world where I spend most of my working hours.
The fun part of taking a simple break from work, with no planned events or things to do, was in getting away from a job with deadlines to meet, meetings to go to, and other planned events or things to do. I shucked that skin for a while. For a while the prospect of living that way continuously, without having anything in particular that I had to do, seemed appealing.
Of course, if the respite became the routine, appeal would turn to ennui pretty quick. I was reminded especially of that by a piece in today's New York Times that looked at how many people have opted -- or have been forced to opt -- out of the job market. These are people who, unable to find jobs, have decided to stay home, or go back to school, or are living off savings.
One person interviewed remarked on how much he missed work, on having a work life, an office to go to, people to work with, projects to work on, challenges to meet, problems to solve.
The paycheck matters, but so too does the work, the place of work.
As much as I enjoyed, and wouldn't mind a few more days of just hanging out, I'm glad I'm going back to work tomorrow.