Sundown Friday saw the start of National Day of Unplugging. I didn’t know anything about that when I decided, on Thursday, to unplug as much as possible over the entire weekend, starting at about noon on Friday. Events this past week have left me…unmoored, and I needed time to think about what happened and what I want to do with the information. Some of it I will write about here. Other things will be referred to vaguely, much later, for fear of my job.
It started last Saturday when I stepped on a rusty nail in our backyard and ended up in the ER to get a tetanus shot. While the money would be reimbursed by my insurance company, a mix-up over my “official” name on the insurance made me pay my deductible out-of-pocket. Leaving me no money to attend this weekend’s THATCamp Southeast. I was fully intending to “attend” virtually, but when I landed in the ER again on Wednesday, this time with symptoms that could have meant I was having a stroke (it wasn’t; best guest is it was a migraine), I wasn’t sure I had the mental strength to attend virtually a conference I really had my heart set on attending.
A few other events not related to my physical health forced me to think about what Faber, the old English professor in Fahrenheit 451, says to Montag about books: it’s about the time we take to think about what they have to tell us. I needed to take the time to unplug and think about what had happened to me over the past week, and even the past year. Without Twitter as an “easy” outlet for my venting and without the blog to allow me longer rants and rambling. Without the pages and pages and pages and pages of writing on education, higher education, and everything else to distract me with “meaningful” and “useful” reading. I love the people and blogs I follow, but this weekend, I needed to be with my own thoughts for a little while.
I’ll admit I didn’t unplug completely. An entirely different post is needed on the expectations placed on modern professors to be accessible at all times to their students’ via email or other electronic contact mechanism, but I had required that my students complete an online reading quiz over the weekend, and Blackboard is notoriously buggy (to put it nicely). And I didn’t want to return on Monday to piles and piles of email in my personal inbox. So I checked my email a few times a day. But I turned the wireless off my computer and ignored all of the vibrations on my phone.
I also didn’t do any grading (even though I should have), nor did I do any reading for my class. I watched as little TV as possible. This weekend was all about my mental health. I went for a hike on Friday afternoon. I finally finished reading a novel I had been trying to get through (it was amazing). I wrote, long-hand, about ideas for a personal research and writing project. I baked. I played with my kids, a lot. I spent time actually talking with my husband (as opposed to right now where we are working next to each other). All of it was an attempt to try and figure out, what next?
I still don’t have any answers. But it did feel good to take the time for myself. I’m hoping that I’ve gotten enough distance from the events of last week to begin to write about them. I can’t wait to read about everything that happened at THATCamp. I have briefly looked at my Google Reader and see a long (and interesting) reading list awaits me; Dr. Davis is blogging at a conference, which is always a treat! And, I think I might have finally found something interesting and not academic to research and write about.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder (gag!), and I miss you all terribly. I hope you’ll come with me this week as I try to work through what going on. This time, back online.