Oh my, it’s been ages! We are officially at summer’s halfway point (at least in my mind) and I should update you on what’s going on here. I don’t know if you remember, but back in May, I decided the family needed a technology break (including me). I have posted just a handful of blogs since that time because you know, I’m on a break which means everything is happening offline, including writing.
The break from technology has been, overall, a mostly fabulous experience. You know how sometimes you don’t know how stressed out you are until you are sitting on a beach with sand filtering through your toes and then you dig in a little deeper to get to the cool, wet sand and you let out a huge sigh? That’s kind of what it’s been like. To know that you are not going to be fighting with your kid about when to turn off their iPad and go do something outside like you did when you were a kid is just, well, pretty amazing.
I won’t lie. It hasn’t magically been all love and sunshine in our house since we made the decision to go tech free. Sure, there are times I’ve wanted to run away but I think that’s pretty normal in parenting. No one wants to give up on the fantasy of having a child comply immediately with every request to use a toothbrush, clean their room and be presentable (clean) every day, but face it, it’s not very realistic. It’s all about the process of learning to be a human who lives in a world with other humans.
I do feel a bit adrift because while I’m living offline, I haven’t kept in touch with people like the way you feel you do on Facebook. I haven’t posted any pictures to show I’m having a great summer and I haven’t been scrolling through and hitting like on any of my friend’s posts. I’m probably missing out on births and deaths and general milestones in everyone’s lives but on the other hand, I have lots and lots of time to do things I want and choose to do. If it’s important I’ll hear about it.
Speaking of milestones, I managed to hit one myself this summer – I turned 50 last week! I know, I can’t believe it either! It was a beautiful day and I took myself to Edith Wharton’s country home in Lenox, MA to celebrate and it was lovely. My husband treated me to a fantastic dinner when I got home and then I went to bed with a really good book. I don’t imagine I thought that’s what I’d be doing at 50 when I was 25 but it works and life is good.
I’ve had so much more time to read since I checked out of social media (and candy crush). I have breezed through about ten really good books in July alone which is a pretty big deal since I work and parent and all that other stuff that gets in the way of reading really good books. Here’s some of what I read:
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (loved this quirky title character)
- Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue (immigration, class, race, American dreamers, flawed and well-drawn characters)
- The Sunshine Sister’s by Jane Green (not my favorite of her books but entertaining and I can relate to the unshakeable bond of sisters even if you don’t always see each other)
- Everything We Left Behind by Kerry Lonsdale (I’ve been anxiously waiting to find out what happened to these characters from Everything We Keep which was a book I stayed up all night reading this past spring)
- Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. (I found out she wrote her first book at 50 and there you go!)
- Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser (I had to know why a father disappeared with his small son a few days into their family vacation. It was emotional.)
- Modern Lovers by Emma Straub (great characters, an interesting plot and a lot of family dysfunction)
- Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (a humorous, modern telling of Pride and Prejudice)
- Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (a parent’s nightmare of losing your kids while vacationing in a foreign country)
- I Found You and The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell (I read her books years ago so now catching up with her current offerings which I enjoyed very much)
As we roll through August I plan to keep on reading and writing offline but at some point, I realize I need to consider a re-entry strategy to the digital world for both my son and myself. If you know of a good book about such a topic, let me know!
Hope you are enjoying the summer wherever you may be.